Following the recent recommendation from a mentor and colleague at Hospital for Special Surgery, I sought out SONSIEL online. During my research, I noticed “disruptive” being used frequently to define the group. Disruptive thinking in nursing – the idea that healthcare is ripe for external inspiration and new, creative perspectives to drive innovation – resonated deeply with me and immediately piqued my interest.
This same word was specifically chosen as a defining adjective of my women’s golf company, Grueter Golf. My three best friends from college and I founded GG in 2017 with a mission to “get girls on the green” by breaking down the barriers to entering the world of golf and disrupting the narrative of women in the sport. When we first started golfing, together at age 25, we were incredulous at the host of difficulties women face when attempting to play. The notion that golf is a men’s space permeates so much of the culture. Women rarely receive an invitation to play, the outfit requirements and restrictions are off-putting, the humor is offensive (80% of jokes based on husbands escaping pesky wives), and the casual slights women experience on the course are discouraging. These truths coupled with the undeniable difficulty of the sport itself create an environment too intimidating for most female beginners to overcome. The industry at large has been unsuccessful in growing the game among this demographic, and therefore statistics for apparel, shoe and equipment sales as well as country club memberships remain staggeringly low. We decided that in order for golf to be more accessible and welcoming to women and beginners, the entire approach needed to change.
After some initial investigation, we identified a conservative and outdated way of thinking, confined nearly entirely within the golf space, as a major source of the problem. The three of us approaching golf from completely different fields – real estate development, digital advertising, law, and healthcare – with little to no previous exposure to the game, have unique and fresh perspectives on how to attract new and non-golfers (spoiler: we make it fun). While we still have a lot to learn, our strategies have undoubtedly been working. Grueter Golf hosts several 100+- person outings each year, organizes monthly group clinics at Five Iron Golf, has an active membership of 70+ highly engaged women in four different cities, maintains 5,000+ followers on social media, and manages successful partnerships with industry-leading sponsors to support our growth. In January 2020 we hosted our largest event to date with 225 women across three cities, 70% of whom identified as a beginner.
GG has remained a passion project alongside my profession as a nurse. I have worked throughout my entire career in New York City at both the Hospital for Special Surgery and New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell in the field of orthopedics. I have attempted to utilize this same disruptive mindset to advance the role of the nurse within this specialty. HSS and NYP have a strong relationship and recently formed a new Orthopedic Trauma Service (OTS) to better serve their patients. Historically at these institutions, patients who suffered a fragility fracture were rarely screened or treated for osteopenia and osteoporosis and therefore the rate of secondary fractures within this population was considerably high. While there were several efforts in place to address this issue, the majority had not proven successful. I recognized the need for an entirely new approach to the problem. Under the guidance of a world-renowned leader in metabolic bone disease, orthopedic surgeon, and fervid supporter of nurses, I was given the opportunity to design and implement the hospital’s first-ever Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) as a part of the new OTS. The role was intentionally created with a nurse practitioner (as opposed to an MD) in mind, and now as an NP, I independently treat and manage the metabolic bone disorders of this population. Since the launch of the FLS in September 2019, 250+ patients have been served, significantly easing the burden for the hospital by reducing secondary fractures and associated complications. I am proud that the introduction of the FLS has afforded a nurse to fill a role that is critical to the overall success of a surgeon-led program.
By joining SONSIEL as a ‘Nurse Entrepreneur,’ I hope to engage and collaborate with people in nursing similar to the people I have engaged and collaborated with thus far in both healthcare and golf: likeminded and imaginative individuals who seek impactful change, recognize the difficulty with a rigid or outdated way of thinking, and have the desire, energy, and adaptability to implement new ideas or programs.
Thanks for taking the time to learn about my journey and I look forward to e-meeting everyone this year!
PS: If any readers have ever considered trying golf – even (especially!) if you have never picked up a club in your life – or are simply looking for other women to play with, check out our website: www.gruetergolf.com or reach out to us directly at email@example.com 🙂
Kirsten Grueter AGNP-BC
Fracture Liaison Service
Hospital for Special Surgery at Weill Cornell Medical Center, NYC, NY