During Pride month we'll spotlight some of our Swedish caregivers who will share what Pride means to them.
Luke Van de Krol, ARNP, psychiatrist nurse practitioner for Swedish Mental Health Services at Ballard and Edmonds, has always been drawn to helping others through the tough times in their lives. Since childhood, Luke has had a gift for listening to and comforting others in their moments of need. It is what naturally drew him to work as a therapist and later as a psychiatric nurse practitioner.
This Pride month, Luke reflects on not only the happiness and joy of Pride events, but also the tough matters of LGBTQIA+ mental health and the lasting impacts of homophobia and transphobia.
Before joining Providence Swedish, Luke's doctoral project for his nursing practice focused on exploring practices of primary care providers who work with transgender and gender non-conforming youth under 13 in the Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho region. Today outside of his day-to-day role, he also works closely with social work colleagues at Edmonds campus and their local DEI group to help make the hospital an affirming environment for all, including LGBTQIA+ patients. The group talks through solutions and helps implement processes that could help improve patient experience, such as handing out pronoun pins to our providers and expanding access to accurate sexual orientation and gender identity information for caregivers.
"I think it is of utmost importance to celebrate queer providers and the work that is being done, while also being honest and transparent about the issues that are still going on and we still need to fix," Luke says.
"Pride month, to me, spans the emotional spectrum because there are great and happy times such as at Seattle pride events. Then, we think about important, serious and sad matters like advocacy work, remembering those we have lost by suicide or homicide, fundraising for surgeries that should be covered by our national broken healthcare system and the reminder we still have so much more work to do and so far to go," he affirms.
Still, Luke celebrates his identity and pride by attending Pride events, reuniting with friends, and smiling at strangers who are all there for the same reasons: to unite in pride, love and happiness.
At Edmonds and Ballard, Luke supports the partial hospitalization program (PHP). He also rotates on-call shifts for behavioral health units and serves as a consult and liaison psychiatric provider for the Edmonds campus. Many of his consult patients are older and struggling with dementia or delirium, while other patients struggle with depression, suicide, mania, psychosis, or need help restarting, initiating or adjusting medications. He also tries to connect with patient’s family members and other providers to best support the patient while they're in our care.
"What brings me most joy is when patients make positive changes, whether minor or significant. Though I don't follow patients outside of the hospital, I am passionate about getting patients moving in the right direction, so they may flourish moving forward," Luke says. "I was drawn to Providence Swedish because, as a student here, I was blown away by the rich experience of the acute care psychiatric team members-- how long many of them have worked for this organization, their camaraderie, how they supported one another and how they frequently attended meetings to improve their care. For me, there is an undeniable correlation between good care and good outcomes, and I wanted to be a part of this."
When not at work, Luke enjoys hiking, camping, skiing, hanging out with friends, drag shows and exploring local wineries. Originally from Maine, he feels lucky to explore and enjoy the scenery that Washington has to offer.
Swedish is proud of our caregivers who support our patients through tough times and help make our hospitals a better place every day.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional's instructions.