Rynders has been a nurse for more than 15 years and currently works at Denver Health and Rose Medical Center.
She has a BS in Nursing, a BA in Spanish, and a MFA in Dance with a specialization in movement and somatic practices. She is also a certified Advanced Grief Recovery Specialist.
In addition to her educational and professional experience, Rynders spent many years taking care of ill and dying family members and nearly died herself when her fallopian tube burst due to an ectopic pregnancy. During her experience as a patient, alongside her experiences caring for family, Rynders realized the significant role nurses have in caring for their patients and the importance of processing grief.
Rynders’ innovative work effectively combines the arts with science, which has been recognized by numerous grant and scholarship awards. Notably, she has been awarded grants to pursue her vision for nursing research and arts-based resiliency workshops through A Blade of Grass Fellowship, and multiple grants through the Arts in Society, Reimagine Denver 2020, and Colorado Creative Industries.
Her melding of art with nursing and science also was recognized through the highest level of nursing recognition in Colorado when she was given the Nightingale Luminary Award in 2019.
In addition to her work with healthcare providers, Rynders is available for one-on-one and group workshops on grief recovery for individuals dealing with loss. She is also available as a speaker and subject matter expert on the impact of compassion fatigue, burnout and secondary traumatic stress among healthcare workers and the capacity for art to process that impact.
Rynders is grateful for her close team and co-directors, Jadd Tank, Lia Bonfilio, and Clare Hammoor who help lead and guide The Clinic.
Rynders, alongside Diedre Bricker RN MSN, developed an IRB-approved research study, implemented during “The Clinic Workshops” to assess the outcomes of using art, movement, and play-based theater to help decrease burnout and secondary traumatic stress
Rynders piloted the research study at Rose Medical Center and The Medical Center of Aurora in 2019.
Participants reported a dramatic decrease in burnout and secondary traumatic stress and a significant increase in empathy following the workshop.
Rynders will continue to add to the research throughout her ongoing work with “The Clinic Workshops,” in an effort to underscore the impact of using art to process grief and trauma.
Rynders is currently researching the correlation between compassion fatigue and burnout in healthcare providers and its role in health disparities.