“My approach to patient care, as well as self-care, is focused on self-empowerment and a holistic definition of wellness that includes not only the physical body, but our emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness. Pain and fear are closely related, and self-empowerment helps diminish fear by taking back control over the aspects of health that are directly within our influence.”
~ Rose Pignataro
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Rose Pignataro is a doctor of physical therapy with more than 30 years of experience. She holds a Ph.D. in public health from West Virginia University. Dr. Pignataro the Assistant Program Director and Associate Professor at Emory & Henry College Physical Therapy Department where she coordinates civic engagement and teaches cardiopulmonary physical therapy, wound management, health promotion and wellness, professional practice, and critical inquiry.
Her research interests and clinical practice include integrative, person-centered approaches to health promotion and wellness, particularly motivational interviewing for a lifestyle change.
Dr.Pignataro is a board-certified wound management specialist (CWS, American Academy of Wound Management) and certified health education specialist (CHES, National Commission for Health Education Credentialing). She and her husband, Jack, live on a small farm in Southwest Virginia with their two rescue dogs and a menagerie of chickens.
Dr. Pignataro’s approach to patient care, as well as self-care, is focused on self-empowerment and a holistic definition of wellness that includes not only the physical body, but our emotional, mental, and spiritual wellness. Pain and fear are closely related, and self-empowerment helps diminish fear by taking back control over the aspects of health that are directly within our influence. This includes lifestyle choices such as nutrition, exercise, meditation, and mindfulness.
As a disability advocate, Rose also helps both patients and clinicians understand the importance of a collaborative approach to pain management. The clinician may be the expert in certain aspects of medical treatment, but the patient is the expert in what it is like to live with pain on a day-to-day basis, Treatment cannot be successful without the investment of both parties.
She favors the use of motivational interviewing because it conveys the importance of mutual respect and facilitates therapeutic alliance. If a person experiencing chronic pain is not getting what they need from the therapeutic relationship with their healthcare provider, they are entitled to search elsewhere.
Granted, this can be difficult because of the lack of proper training among her colleagues, and the tendency towards a passive, paternalistic approach to patient interactions. This outdated, passive approach is partly to blame for the prevalence of addiction and its close association with chronic pain.
Nonetheless, times change, with the education of clinicians and health consumers paving the way. As Maya Angelou said, “we do the best we can until we know better. Then when we know better, we do better.” That is why she changed her focus from direct patient care to academia, ensuring that her future colleagues obtain proper education in effective prevention and management of chronic pain and associated health conditions.
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