Kristi Van Winkle
Medical Content Writer and Proofreader
Write Shift RN, LLC
Briefly describe your daily job duties.
I am a content writer and proofreader for various forms of medical content. Before I started my company, I worked as a registered nurse. I worked primarily in a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and then an adult Telemetry unit.
As a person who stutters, share the most challenging part of your job.
Communication is key in the medical profession. Meeting and educating new people every shift, speaking on the phone to doctors and other professionals or family members, giving report to oncoming nurses, and communicating effectively in high-stress situations were all challenging to me as a person who stutters.
What are your long-term career aspirations?
I want to build my business as high as I can. I have no desire to return to the bedside, but I want to use the medical knowledge and expertise I have gained there to help others and provide the highest quality services possible.
Did you self-disclose your stuttering during the job hiring process?
I did always mention my stuttering during job interviews. It was never an issue. I generally only mentioned it to co-workers and patients if I was having a particularly hard time speaking that night. I found that this put them at ease, knowing this was something I dealt with regularly and not a result of the situation. Sometimes people would assume I didn’t know what I was doing and I was stuttering nervously. Letting them in on the “secret” seemed to put their minds at ease and even instill some respect from some.
What is your proudest moment at your current company?
The moment I took the plunge and stepped away from the bedside to start my own company was amazing. I have wanted to write my whole life. Let’s be honest, it’s much easier than talking! Walking away from that hospital after handing in my badge and cleaning out my locker was so freeing!
Describe how stuttering makes you a better, more valued contributor at work.
I have had several opportunities to use my stuttering to encourage people. Patients or families are often relieved to see that what some consider an impediment has not been as big a problem as one would assume. I have had parents and families ask me all kinds of questions about working with “handicaps” and I have been able to encourage them and put their minds at ease.
What’s your best advice for people who stutter just entering the workplace and for those in a career striving to achieve greater success?
Don’t listen to the naysayers. It doesn’t matter as much as you think it does. It doesn’t matter as much as they think it does. I had a nursing instructor tell me during a clinical that I would never be an effective nurse if I didn’t get my stuttering under control. She was wrong.