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Functional Medicine is my true calling - talking with my patients and understanding their background health stories

Cathy Wilson, CNP, CRNA

I started practice as a CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist) in 2005 after graduating with a MS from Mount Marty College, and have worked in many anesthesia settings; solo rural practice, the Emergency Room, orthopedic specialty hospitals, OB, ophthalmology, etc. I love the ability to magically take away people’s pain and appreciate the immense trust that I am given as I put someone to sleep. However, I realized that I deeply missed talking with my patients and understanding their background health stories. I soon discovered that many surgeries were necessary only due to lifestyle-related disease and could have been potentially avoided with preventative self-care such as changes in nutrition, weight loss and pain management (important to note: this is not always the case—surgery can be absolutely necessary and life-saving).


Then, four years ago my oldest child contracted viral meningitis. She spent nine days in the hospital and nearly a week of that in Intensive Care.  After sampling every fluid in her body, we could never determine a reason for her brain infection. Miraculously, has no cognitive deficits after having seizures from inflammation. I had to beg the doctors to be allowed to feed her after she regained an appropriate state of consciousness. The hospital kitchen was in awe when I sent back the fried chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, and red juice and requested fruit and steamed vegetables. How could my daughter’s brain heal on junk food? Tragedy has a way of changing a person’s perspective, and I was determined to keep my family as healthy as possible without depending on unnecessary medication.  I started reading everything I could about nutrition, healing, inflammation, auto-immunity, mind-body medicine and brain health. That is when I discovered Functional Medicine as my true calling


In 2017, I earned a Post-Master’s degree in Family Medicine and became Board Certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner.  I will soon complete Certification through the Institute for Functional Medicine, which is a 2+ year process.  I also have Integrative Medicine training thru the Kresser Institute and the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, a Health Coaching Certificate from the University of MN and Brain Health training thru the Amen Clinics. I also have a special interest in PTSD and treatment-resistant depression and am the first provider in South Dakota to administer Ketamine infusions (which is also an anesthetic) for those purposes.

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