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The Core of What We Do: Primary Care Is a Team Effort, says Dr. Jessica McCoolPublished: May 17, 2023
In “The Core of What We Do,” you’ll learn more about Methodist’s core service lines – primary care, oncology, cardiology, women’s health and orthopedics/surgical services – and the people whose dedication makes them so impactful for our communities.
Jessica McCool, MD
Family Medicine Physician
Methodist Physicians Clinic at Methodist Jennie Edmundson Medical Plaza
Why is this service line so important? How does it uniquely contribute to The Meaning of Care?
I like to consider primary care as a patient’s home base. Your primary care provider is always a good place to start with a problem so they can either address it or get you to the correct person to address it. This is the provider who likely knows you the best and can see when a change occurs. Primary care is unique because we often get the privilege of caring for the entire family.
What’s something surprising about primary care that people might now know?
Primary care providers are the coordinators of your care. We communicate with specialists and work hard to ensure that our patients are on track with every aspect of their care. We have a whole team to help us with this, as it can’t be done by one person. Our nursing staff is always busy following up on emergency department visits, urgent care visits, hospital visits and anything else that comes up with your care.
Tell us about your role?
Our role is to care for the entire patient. This can be a big task, but with the help of our support staff, our hospital system and our specialists, I feel we do an excellent job.
What do you enjoy most about your team?
We all work very well together. At times we have to put our heads together to solve a problem, but because of our great teamwork, an answer is always readily available.
Do you have any memories that stick out?
When COVID began, it felt like our world was a bit chaotic at first. But it was amazing to see people from every department step up and offer to help in any way they could. The teamwork was fantastic, even in one of the hardest times in our careers.
Why did you come to Methodist, and why have you stayed?
I came to Methodist because as a resident I met the providers at the Council Bluffs clinic and then was able to spend some time rotating with them. I felt that it was a very welcoming environment that would help to continue to grow my skills as a physician.
What does a day in the life look like for you?
In primary care, every day is different, which is why it’s fun and challenging at the same time. I’m typically in clinic all day, but some days I go to round at the nursing homes in Council Bluffs. In primary care, we can be doing physicals, acute visits and minor procedures (mole removals, laceration repair, etc.) all in the same day.
What does The Meaning of Care mean to you?
The Meaning of Care means that we’re listening to and advocating for our patients. It means seeing the patient as a whole and taking into account their cultural and personal differences. We need to treat the patient as a whole, not just a symptom. I don’t promise my patients that I know everything, but I do promise that I’ll keep fighting to find answers for them.
What’s the best thing about your role at Methodist?
I enjoy taking care of patients from newborns to the elderly, and I appreciate the fact that Methodist allows me to be in charge of how I want to run my practice. I enjoy doing nursing home rounds. Many of those patients don’t want to or can’t easily leave the nursing home to go to appointments, so our nursing home team is a great resource. Methodist has supported me in this venture by adding two fantastic ARNPs to the team, and with this, we can provide more direct, one-on-one care to patients at our local nursing homes.
What do you enjoy outside of your time at Methodist?
I am married and have three children. We enjoy spending time outdoors biking and kayaking. My children are involved in multiple sports, so much of our time is spent together at these events.