Leigh Gistinger, RN, MSN, CPNP

gistingerLooking back on my life and the path that led me here, I know that I am exactly where I am meant to be. I actually started life in a foreign country but ended up in Texas marrying a man from Marlin who only speaks Texan. Of course a lot happened in the interim. The middle child of an Army officer, I was born in Stuttgart Germany, spent my childhood living in multiple locations across the United States and was back in Germany the first three years of highschool. We transferred to Killeen, Texas my senior year. That was very hard. I can certainly identify with the pains of change in childhood-new places, new schools, leaving and making new friends, uncertainty, depending on my family in times of transition and so on. Although there were challenges, many positives came from our frequent relocations and in retrospect, I’m thankful for all of them.

My heart has always had an inclination to want to make people feel better-emotionally, physically, whatever the need at the time. This inclination, along with my passion for health, and a fascination with human physiology and the human body, landed me logically in the health care profession. When I did a pediatric rotation early in my education, I knew I’d found my place. Working with kids has really been quite a gift for me! I wish I had started collecting the unique things kids say years ago that have made me laugh, smile or just plain made my day.

I spent the first 8 years of my career at CMC Dallas. This was an exciting place to work and I really loved being in that atmosphere and taking care of, unfortunately often very sick, children. I provided care for a wide range of children with diagnosis ranging from asthma to liver transplant recipients. I met various qualifications and quickly advanced to Children’s highest Clinical Level Designation for Registered nurses. At that point, I wanted more autonomy and to deepen my skills and knowledge. I worked on my Masters Degree in Child Health and in 1995 graduated with High Honors, obtained National Certification and set out on a new journey. In 1997, I joined Dr Conger at Kids First Pediatrics and began a career I truly love My special interests within pediatrics are many but include asthma, growth and development, discipline, behavior, nutrition, mental health and adolescent care. I became a Certified Asthma Educator to help families deal with the complexities of this disease. I have an incessant passion for health, wellness and disease prevention and have invested a significant amount of time and energy researching and keeping our practice in the forefront of the latest in Science in these areas. We live in an age of chronic disease and disability- a time when our kids might not actually outlive usand our lifestyle issues are critical! I love that at Kids First I can share and help our practice incorporate this into the care we provide our children and families.

I feel very fortunate to work with the group of Providers I work with. We all have complimentary personalities/interests and fit together to make an excellent team. I love that we work as a unified group. We all share a genuine interest for each child seen at Kids First-meeting weekly for education, to discuss cases & kid related topics, and to promote cohesiveness and high standards of care. They encourage me to be who I am and encourage my growth personally and professionally.

I married “my-perfect” man in 1998. He’s still my very best friend. We are perfectly imperfect and happy together. We moved to Flower Mound in 1999 to get me close to Kids First and we love it here. It feels like home to me after so many year of moving. Animals will always grace our home despite the consequences of hair balls and sometimes hefty vet bills. They bring us a lot of joy. We attend The Village Church here at the Flower Mound/Highland Village campus. I enjoy the pastor who throws humor into real life human struggles. Scripture and laughter -a healing combination!

I love to read! Although I enjoy fiction, I cant seem to make time for it because there is always some interesting topic I want to learn about. My favorite nerdy topics are nutrition, personal development, human behavior -to name a few.

I love the outdoors and all aspects of nature. I love to garden and still feel happy inside when my perennials reappear each year -feels like a little miracle or at least a job well done.

I’ve always loved being active and working out. I started running with my dad in Junior high and continued on the Varsity Heidelberg High School Cross Country Team (think German castle views, mountain trails and hand-picked apples-it was wunderbar!!). Im still running-just not quite as much. Endorphins and stress relief are my current motivators. My dog Bella, on the other hand, appreciates the freedom and the aromas found along our way.

Of course I love time with my friends and family. We are working to get back in the kitchen and enjoy the art of cooking and eating real food. I love the power of food! Im no Betty Crocker- but I’m working on it.