Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Micah Price work on a patient record at the Owensboro Health Pediatric Center. Also pictured, left to right, are Medical Assistant Brandy Hoagland, Student Extern Taylor Hurt and Medical Assistant Kim Mills.
A growing practice: Owensboro Health Pediatric Center
Pediatric medicine is a growth industry. Keep children well. Get them better when they’re sick. Watch them grow.
But that sounds a lot easier than it sometimes is.
Medical Assistant Neal Blue works under the
watchful gaze of one of the more colorful residents
of the Owensboro Health Pediatric Center.
Children are often the silent (or screaming, or crying) type, and can’t tell medical staff their symptoms, said Dr. Amit Dulabh, one of the newer providers at Owensboro Health Pediatric Center.
“It's very difficult to treat people who can't tell you what's wrong,” Dulabh said. “You kind of learn how to pick up from the parents and from the way the children act.”
Sometimes the parent is the best source of information, said Brenda Coleman, a nurse with more than 30 years of pediatric experience.
“Anytime a mother says, ‘This is just not my child,’ there's something we need to find. It might be something minor, but they know their kids,” Coleman said. “You just try to be as understanding and patient as you can be, and answer all their questions. You get a better response if you take care of the child and the parent. You have to have empathy and understand how worried they are, especially with first-time parents.”
Micah Price, a pediatric nurse practitioner who joined the practice in December, said even when children aren’t sick it’s still important to lend parents an ear.
“Sometimes they (parents) just want someone to listen to them. Taking the time to let them say what they want, and acknowledging the fact you understand them, those are the best things you can do,” Price said.
Not child’s play
Pediatricians Dr. Shanna McGinnis, left, and Dr.
Amit Dulabh cross paths during the day at
Owensboro Health Pediatric Center.
Being in pediatrics means seeing a broad range of case types, said Dr. Dulabh.
“It's like being a big child. We have fun, but we also do a lot of counseling and preventive care,” Dr. Dulabh said. “It can be very difficult at times but it can be very rewarding.”
Practice Manager Rachel Knott agreed that just because the work fun doesn’t mean it isn’t demanding. Knott said the care they give now can make a huge difference for a child down the road.
“Every checkup is important,” Knott said. “I venture to say that the well checks are just as important (as sick visits), especially for catching things and checking developmental milestones.”
Coleman, who does a lot of telephone work to help parents know if they need to come in, said the large amount of education they do is one of her favorite parts of the job.
“I get to do a lot of teaching,” Coleman said. “I've developed a rapport with them on the phone. It's a challenge, but it's such a rewarding thing.”
And a sizable portion of the children seen now come from diverse families, Coleman said.
“I have learned so much in the past two years here at the pediatric center. The diversity (is incredible) with the Hispanic and Burmese populations,” Coleman said. “I feel like there's so much I've done that I never got to do before.”
Knott said one of the things they appreciate most is the new space they have at the Breckenridge Center, which they moved in to in September 2014. In the old space at the Ford Avenue Campus, they had six exam rooms. At Breckenridge, they have 24.
“New space makes the biggest difference. We have more room for tests, to give shots. We brought on additional providers and staff,” Knott said. “The big thing we struggled with in the old space was access.”
In the new space, they now have 11 staff, five providers and a manager. New space and more staff have helped them grow their capabilities, Knott said.
“We can do a same-day well check now, which was unheard of before,” Knott said. “They (our staff) are so patient focused, and they portray that in numerous ways. Even the decor of the office was planned out with that in mind, including the sick/well waiting rooms and the decorations.”
The big goal later this year is to provide clinic hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., which would make it easier for working parents to have their children seen.
“We're working on providing access so everybody's not so bombarded at the end of the day,” Knott said.
Merging office staff from other acquired practices has also been a huge help, Knott said.
“It was great. At the end of the day, we all had the same goals. They blended in perfectly. They're all just so motivated and went together very well,” Knott said.
Patient Registration Rep Tammy Burcham works at
the front desk of Owensboro Health Pediatric
For Price, working in pediatrics is something she knew she wanted to do because of her pediatrician.
“I always loved kids and knew I wanted to work with them,” Price said. “I enjoyed going to the doctor as a kid. Dr. (David) Danhauer is the reason I'm in pediatrics and I work with kids.”
For Dr. Dulabh, it’s the same.
“Growing up, I saw the role pediatrician played in my life,” Dr. Dulabh said. “That's why I chose pediatrics. I want to take care of people through their most critical time of development. You become a part of their family.”
Coleman said the job is everything she thought it would be, and that’s why she has been at it for so long.
“I love kids. They're fun and funny. You never know what they're going to say or do,” Coleman said.
And working with like-minded people makes that even more enjoyable.
“In pediatrics, you don't find too many people who aren't easygoing,” Dr. Dulabh said.
Knott said the thing she’s most proud of is the heart they all put into their work and beyond. That includes chipping in cab fare so parents and children won’t have to walk to the office during bad weather or staying late to make sure everyone gets seen.
“They're very humble, just willing to work around those patients’ (schedules),” Knott said.
All that adds up to a place where they can really make a difference, Price said.
“I feel like I've worked here for a lot longer than I actually have because they've taken me in and everyone has been super helpful. I feel like we've really hit our stride,” Price said.