Women’s health advocate talks aging, motherhood and holiday stress

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Allison Butler, RN, CFNP, Riverside Partners in Women's Health (WYDaily/Jennifer Holden)
Allison Butler, RN, CFNP, Riverside Partners in Women’s Health (WYDaily/Jennifer Holden)

Certified Family Nurse Practitioner Allison Butler says that she’s at her best when she’s making a difference in her patients’ lives.

For the past 22 years, she’s assisted women in the community as they’ve transitioned from adolescence to motherhood, to their menopausal years and beyond.

Butler joined WomanCare of Williamsburg in 1994, which is now known as Riverside Partners in Women’s Health, after receiving her Master’s Degree in Nursing from Old Dominion University.

“I count my blessings every single day that I ran into such a great group of women,” said Butler. “When I joined the staff, it was composed of doctors who were mothers themselves and understood my desire for part-time employment.”

“I went into nursing knowing that I wanted to be a mom,” said Butler. “It was very important to me to be able to be there for my children, not that full-time working mothers can’t be. But for me, I wanted to be there for my kids if they had a sporting event or something important occurring in their lives.”

Butler currently works two days a week and sees roughly 16 to 20 patients a day.

“I love to serve others and connect well with other women. There’s a common bond and empathy; I understand what women go through,” said Butler.

Justina Nelson is a medical assistant with Riverside Partners in Women’s Health who has worked with Butler for the past four years. She attests to Butler’s knack for connecting well with patients that reaches beyond typical health issues.

“She genuinely cares deeply for her patients. It doesn’t matter what a patient is going through, she’s there to offer advice in any situation. She does especially well with the younger generation,” said Nelson.

Butler and her husband of 28 years, Dr. Corydon “Cory” Butler, who works as a dentist in Williamsburg, have four sons whose ages range from 18 to 26. A promoter of healthy living, Butler encouraged her sons throughout their youth, as she does her patients, to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. One of her proudest moments was running in a Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., a few years ago with a couple of her sons as one carried the American flag.

Butler’s care-giving reaches beyond her office and into her personal life as well. Her beloved father has recently joined her household as her family assists him through his journey with Alzheimer’s.

“He’s an incredible man,” said Butler. “At 83, he is extremely physically healthy, but his mental acuity continues to decline so that makes it difficult.”

Naturally, it becomes more difficult to fit in exercise during the winter months with the days getting darker and colder, Butler says this is the time to get creative with your routine and change it up a bit.

“It’s time to look at other options, such as simply going outside and walking in the sunlight when you can, because this is a time when seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a concern,” said Butler.

With the holiday season in our midst, she’s encouraging her patients to remain calm and live in the moment.

“It’s a very stressful time of year, particularly for women who are perfectionists,” she said. “With gift-giving, food preparation and decorating, it’s important to remember not to lose yourself in the busyness of the season. And, it’s important to remember what the season is about and to not lose focus of the important things. This is a time to enjoy your children, family and fellowship.”

Disclosure: Jennifer Holden is a patient of Allison Butler, RN, CFNP, Riverside Partners in Women’s Health.