We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Gates and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amber, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
The thought process behind starting your own business
Curantis: Latin for Caregiver
It is always eye-opening when one looks back on where they are at any point in their life, and they can see how all the pieces came together to allow them to be right where they are meant to be. Much of the reason for me starting my practice, Curantis Wellness, was the experiences I had while traversing the mental health system as a patient. Stepping back, I reflected on how I struggled through and/or excelled with challenges personally and professionally and took that knowledge to provide to others what I wish I had.
I started my career in the medical field as a phlebotomist and reached my current role as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner over the course of 17 years, with many pauses along the way. These pauses gave me a chance to reflect on my current and future goals, and to be honest, if someone told me this is where I would be, there is no way I would believe them. Most of my nursing career was spent in the emergency department, and I found it a perfect fit despite being the last place I thought I would work. I imagined myself working with the elderly or newborns. The emergency department opportunity allowed me to see a growing need for improved access to short and long-term primary care for the community. I took this as an opportunity to make a difference, and it led me to go back to school to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. While serving in this role, I gained insight into a systemic concern of an extreme lack of mental health care. I refused to sit back and allow this issue to plague our community. So, with a servant’s heart, I knew it was time for me to get back in the books after swearing time and time again that I was done. Once again, the road I thought I was preparing for took a sharp turn.
The vision of Curantis Wellness began to form in 2019 while completing my psychiatric nurse practitioner’s training. Although many other opportunities presented themselves, I felt a deep calling that these were not to be. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged our health care system, it was apparent to me there was a need for culturally competent mental health care for first responders and other medical professionals working in various roles in emergency medicine. In my years in the emergency department, combined with being married to a firefighter, I found a profound lack of providers with first-hand experience in the job or its impact on family members. I sought to create a safe place of mutual respect for all first responders to take the time to care for themselves and their community. However, I quickly learned that part of the lack of engagement in mental health is multi-faceted: stigma, time, cost, and fear of traumatizing their provider with the things they have seen and done. The mission and vision of Curantis Wellness is to come alongside our first responder with a baseline understanding of their needs and culture and educate on how medications, along with counseling, can help in their healing process.
Curantis Wellness has allowed me to see that being an entrepreneur brings many challenges and countless joys I never knew could be possible. And to be honest, being an entrepreneur is uncomfortable, at times, however, being uncomfortable is where we grow. Curantis Wellness has changed me forever and what keeps my drive going every day is seeing that I have improved my patients’ quality of life, which allows them to continue to do great things for our communities. This is a privilege I will forever be grateful for.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I feel that my practice is unique because the experience I bring is so diverse. I have a strong passion for caring for our first responders and their mental health. While there is much progress in breaking down stigma, we still have work to do. Prior to creating my business model, I researched our state for other psychiatric providers with a background similar to mine. I found some fantastic providers that also devote their practice to first responders, but have not been a part of the culture day to day. My goal is to take my experience as a nurse in the busiest ER in the state of Colorado, as well as being the wife of a firefighter, and care for those I call family.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Colorado Springs is a city that is unique and diverse in so many ways. For breakfast, Urban Egg is my favorite. As a locally owned business, their food is fresh and service is even better. I am a lover of antiques and there are some fun little shops spread out throughout downtown. Bingo Burger downtown is perfect for lunch followed by Frozen Gold where you can indulge in some unique flavors, including Cheetos and Goldfish on your ice cream. No trip to Colorado Springs would be complete without visiting the Broadmoor. Every Christmas our family’s traditions include touring the gingerbread displays and dinner at the Golden Bee. Nearby is one of the best zoos in the country- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Built into the side of the mountain, it’s more than just a leisurely stroll but the views of our beautiful city are worth it!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would not be where I am today without my husband, William Gates. His service in the Air Force and as a firefighter inspired me to devote my practice to the first responders and their mental health. When a small business owner makes the leap to create a job that is also their passion, it takes a team to truly succeed. He has been my carpenter, cheerleader, counselor, and coach. There were points that it felt too overwhelming to keep pressing on, and he never let me lose sight of my dreams and take the easy way out.
Inspirations in Photography