"I would get them more access to physical therapy. One of my big things that I'd like to work on is getting more non-pharmacological treatment. What I mean is like therapies, tens units, acupuncture, acupressure.

I think we have a lot to learn, and adding more treatment options can only help. I think that some insurances won't pay for the additive massage therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, so we're trying to add more of that. Those are the services that I'd really like to add to what we're currently doing. Not taking away, but adding.

If we were able to get all of that, even exercise and yoga, stretching out the muscles, helping out in addition to their pain meds, I think that would be beneficial." - Santina, NP


"My advice to nurses who are new to working with people with sickle cell disease would be to listen. Just listen and try to understand what it's like to be in their place, having empathy. I think if you've never been sick in the hospital before and having to be a patient, it's really difficult. It's not an easy experience, so just listen and be present, and be patient, is the best advice that I can give. No two patients are alike." - Santina, NP



"I've been working for about 13 years. I think it's a population that needs a lot of advocating for, [and] a lot of education. There's lots of bias out there. I have really enjoyed taking care of the patients when I was inpatient. They're a special population, so I took it to the next level as an outpatient nurse practitioner so I can advocate more. 

I think it takes a village. I think that it takes the patient, their family, the providers, a whole village to understand what sickle cell is and what living with sickle cell is. How can we help these patients deal with the challenges of just getting treatment, the side effects, the stigmas? I think we should all come together to help these patients out and be supportive." - Santina, NP