Gina Currie ’81 strives to fully embody the nickname her son gave her when he was a young boy: Cure. She even shares the name with her health and wellness company, Cure Rx, which she founded in 2013. A nurse and personal trainer, Currie prescribes physical exercise as a vital first step toward overall health and a key to unlocking enhanced brain function and spiritual well-being. In Currie’s words, physical exercise “has activated resources within the body that will sustain me physically, but not only physically.” It has also helped her access spiritual resources that allow her to live a more joyful and fulfilling life.
Since earning her nursing degree from the UW in 1981, Currie has spent the past 40 years serving the public with community and patient advocacy at the center of her practice. A child of the civil rights movement, Currie participated in community protests with her family as a young girl, which has influenced her to this day. “I now realize that was the beginning of my growth — my commitment to being part of the solution,” she explains. “The seed was planted — the need to advocate as well as to respond to difficult circumstances [and] injustices.”
Now based in California, Currie doesn’t intend to slow down with her work. Through Cure Rx, she volunteers as a nurse community activist while continuing to work full-time as a registered nurse case manager. Read more from Currie about what drives her as a nurse and how movement keeps her active and strong — physically, mentally, and spiritually.
What made you want to become a nurse?
The experience of a young Black girl growing up in Chicago. Looking back, I realize it as the desire to see a difference and to care. I have always enjoyed the freedom of innocent play. I learned the value of safety as a boundary after seeing many childhood accidents: on the playground, roller-skating on lots filled with broken glass, or pedestrian accidents. Our skin bore many scars. As the fifth child of 10, family life impressed upon [me the] value of family and community support. [My] Chicago family-life experience inspired curiosity. Opportunities for higher learning paved the path, and I did not look back. Those who discouraged me made me fight harder.
How does wellness and spirituality play a part in your practice as a nurse and personal trainer?
It has fostered my ability and leadership throughout my career — throughout the barriers and trajectories of human suffering. To be well even with suffering is possible. Bringing a sense of the sacred [is part of] my duty to care. My spirituality is in every part of me. It’s prepared me to fulfill my biggest dreams and hopes and desires: that we would foster the gifts of our health care workers, and to be able to have a place where true healing can occur.
What types of wellness exercises do you prioritize in your work?
I have to say that physical activity has been the go-to and the training ground to bring forth and to extend the gift through my practices. I practice meditation, yoga, walking, running. Resources within the body [that] sustain me physically connect to the sacred — something greater than myself [that can] calm the mind with clarity. I face suffering in myself and others. In my life, I have faced dealing with some of the deepest, deepest situations like death, loss, illness, pain. Throughout the nursing practices, emphasis on self-care [and] wellness [in] life and work [are] essential resilient acts.
Why did you establish Cure Rx?
My son always called me Cure. He gave me that name when he was a kid. He still calls me Cure and Nurse Cure. Through my exercise programming and wellness practices — and wanting to bring a difference in the community — I did start physical exercise training programs, working in gyms, community centers, working with all types of individuals, either ill, or very well, or older. And that’s where it was that prescription: the prescription that a body in motion stays in motion, and that true healing comes through movement.
What do you find most fulfilling about the past 40 years you’ve spent as a nurse?
Nursing is one of the most trusted professions in the world. Being able to experience and serve others is rewarding. [So is] being able to work traditional and nontraditional nursing roles; to witness health care advancement; to educate [and] advocate [for] health equity; and [to] continue learning. And having this trust, we now can use our experience to widen our channels from which we are giving the gift related to our calling. To use my voice to advocate in a way in which it will help, and it will bring a difference — the greatest thing is that it has opened up the way in which we can add value to the experience of patients and to health care [which allows us] to experience true joy and satisfaction. We can serve and not burn out.