February 21, 2020
Nicole and Edna – Provider/Patient Bonds
Key to Success: Getting to Know Patients
By Kate Maloney
Nicole Koch, PA-C, became a PA to make a difference. Each day she walks into work at her family practice in Silver Spring, Maryland, she strives to better her patients’ lives and health. Her goal is to educate her patients on the importance of their health in a caring, honest, and knowledgeable manner. She embodies the best of PAs – not only does she listen, advise, and treat, but she cares deeply for her patients.
Nicole’s key to success is really taking the time to get to know each person individually. She never wants her patients to feel rushed, and she strives to create a safe space where her patients are comfortable “asking anything without feeling judged.” She wants her patients to feel confident in her care, and to view her as a teammate when it comes to health. Once “the patient feels comfortable and realizes that this is a team approach,” she says, “together we can be successful.”
The most important part of her job is developing trusting relationships with patients and working with them to define and achieve health goals. “It feels absolutely amazing,” she says, “when you and your patient achieve… goals. [And] when [they] thank you or give you a hug, that’s a reminder of why you do your job.”
Edna Davis-Brown was lucky enough to meet Nicole a few years ago. And while Edna’s insurance carrier has unfortunately changed, she has nothing but positive things to say about her experience working with Nicole. Edna says that “working with…PAs truly enhanced my healthcare.” She immediately observed that she “spent more time with [Nicole], who asked me key questions,” and they spent a lot of time talking about follow-up items from previous visits. These in-depth conversations allowed Edna and Nicole to not only revisit some of the treatment plans for Edna, but they also gave Nicole a chance to share current research and information Edna found valuable.
When Edna had to have a small tumor removed from her kidney, Nicole checked in with her every step of the way. While Nicole didn’t perform the sonogram or the subsequent MRI, she called Edna regularly to make sure she was scheduling appointments as quickly as possible and that things were progressing as they should. Over the years, Edna and Nicole built a team when it came to Edna’s health. “I developed a bond with my PA,” Edna says fondly, and they still talk from time to time, even though Edna is no longer under Nicole’s care.
Creating that bond is Nicole’s goal with each patient; she dedicates herself to doing the best she can every day. Edna was lucky enough to find an exceptional PA practicing today in Nicole.
Kate Maloney is AAPA’s senior manager of corporate communications. Contact her at [email protected].