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Lori Phinney, APRN, BC, family nurse practitioner and clinic practice manager at CVS MinuteClinic in Boston, Mass.

October 2013

Q. When did you decide to pursue a career in nursing and why?

A. I received my bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Vermont (UVM). Originally, I went to UVM to major in biomedical technology with a plan of going to dental school. My whole life, I thought I wanted to be a dentist, but shortly after I started at UVM, I realized that it may not be the right career path for me.

My mom has three sisters who are all nurses, so she recommended that I switch to the nursing program since it was still a healthcare field and a profession that our family was familiar with. It ended up being a really perfect fit for me and a great switch. Now that I am a nurse and I love what I do, I’m shocked that I didn’t always want to be a nurse!

Q. What do you enjoy most about your profession?

A. What I enjoy most about being a nurse practitioner is when I have a great patient interaction and can use education to help someone understand that they don’t necessarily need an antibiotic or a new drug to get better. In many cases, the patient simply needs peace of mind, time and rest, and permission to let themselves rest.

When I can help a patient understand what they can do to get better, and they truly appreciate and find value in my opinion – that feels really good.

Q. What has been the greatest moment of your career?

A. Two years ago, I had a patient come into the walk-in clinic with pulmonary emboli, a massive blood clot in the lung, which is a really life-threatening condition. I was able to understand enough of his condition that I knew he needed to go to another setting to get care. He ended up being very ill and has since then come back to the clinic many times to say thank you. He and I have formed a friendship out of that experience – we’re even on each other’s Christmas card lists! It’s so great that he’s been able to stay healthy for his kids, and I’m so grateful that we’ve become friends in the process.

Q. What advice would you offer to nurses interested in working in a retail health clinic?

A. One of the most important things a nurse can do is to find a mentor in the field that they aspire to work in. For anyone who is interested in working in a retail health setting or is new to the setting, it’s also important to build relationships with the store staff, including those in the pharmacy, those who work in the front of the store and store managers. The staff is your day-to-day support system, and those relationships can make a huge difference in your career.

Q. How has nursing impacted your life?

A. Nursing is such a huge part of who I am. I’m a wife, a mom of four-year-old twin boys and a nurse, and each one of those is equally one third of what makes me happy. For me, nursing really is such a huge part of where my confidence and happiness stems from, and I’m so thankful to be able to make a difference in the lives of my patients every day.

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