Health Simplified: Get to Know Family Nurse Practitioner Debbie Gessner
For everyone from preschoolers to adults, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Debbie Gessner offers a simple approach to wellness. Eat well. Sleep well. And get outdoors. Located at LeBauer’s Horse Pen Creek location, she is a resource to families who want to get healthy and stay healthy.
“I have always wanted to help people,” Gessner said.
That lifelong motivation led her to UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing to become a Family Nurse Practitioner – an advanced practice registered nurse. Her specialized training allows her to offer a variety of services to patients of all ages, focusing on health promotion, disease prevention, and creating treatment plans for both acute and chronic illnesses.
Getting to the Heart of Good Health
Having worked on cardiology research at Duke and worked in an inpatient cardiology setting, Gessner has a special interest in heart-healthy habits. One of her biggest tips that applies across the lifespan: limit use of electronics, including TV, computer, and phone.
“This applies to children and adults,” Gessner explained. “Get outside as much as possible and find a physical activity you can commit to; keep trying different things until you find something you enjoy!”
Gessner suggests walking, biking, dancing, group exercise, or even yard work. One of her personal favorites is paddleboarding.
Demystifying Healthy Eating
Of course, staying active is only part of the equation. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is a huge health hurdle for busy families. While it may be tempting for some to frequent the drive through or opt for processed, quick options, Gessner encourages patients to choose fresh and keep it simple.
According to Gessner, grilled, baked, or broiled proteins such as lean fish, beef, pork, poultry, or tofu are a great place to start. Add in some raw or roasted veggies and a whole grain such as brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat bread, or pasta. Fresh fruit is an easy way to satisfy a sweet tooth and boost vitamin intake.
“Prepare your proteins and vegetables ahead,” Gessner instructs. “Make double/triple, or even quadruple batches and freeze so there is always a healthy option at hand.”
She says sitting down at the beginning of the week to plan daily breakfast and lunches helps with avoiding temptation and unhealthy choices.
“I love to grill and experiment with dishes from other countries. I am trying to incorporate more plant-based foods in my diet. I enjoy exploring the unusual produce at the international markets in Greensboro,” Gessner said.
Recharging Through Rest
While remaining active and eating healthy are important, the last piece of the puzzle is sleep. There are many misconceptions around what constitutes a good night’s sleep, but Gessner says it varies by age. Her guidelines are as follows:
- Preschoolers: 10-13 hours/night
- School-aged children: 9-11 hours/night
- Teens: 8-10 hours/night
- Adults: 7-9 hours/night
If you’re looking for a family healthcare provider that can help you on your path to wellness, Gessner is taking new patients.
“I get great joy from developing relationships with my patients and love to offer encouragement on their path to wellness,” she said.
Whoever your provider, her advice is to establish good communication.
“Bring a list of your concerns and questions to any appointment and never be afraid to ask for clarification,” Gessner explained.
Establish a Relationship with a Provider Today
If you’re looking for an ally to help you accomplish health goals and someone you can count on when illnesses arise, look no further than LeBauer’s Horse Pen Creek office. Request an appointment online, or call 336-663-4600.