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“It’s the relationships that we form with our patients and the ability to help them live longer, healthier lives that motivate me every day.”
From a young age, Jessica Wolkun had thought about a career in healthcare. But it wasn’t until a trip to the emergency room that she found her true calling. “I took my friend to the ER, and that’s when I met a physician assistant for the first time,” she said. “I could clearly see myself in that role.”
Until then, she had been following a behavioral health track in college, with the goal of working with autistic children. She changed from psychology to biology, and soon found herself in the clinical setting. “The fit was perfect because I wanted to be part of a patient’s overall health rather than just the small part that is behavioral.”
Now she brings her hospital experience, including work in gastrointestinal disorders and infectious disease, to a primary care practice. She chose Vanguard because of its focus on wellness and its genuine care and concern for its patients. Being a physician assistant at Vanguard is everything she envisioned. “I love medicine, and I enjoyed working in a hospital, but now I have the opportunity to get to know my patients and follow their health for the long term.
“My patients like that I’m thorough and that I listen to them,” she said. “I help them stay on top of their health, and I sometimes gently push a little to ensure that they get the test that they need or make the lifestyle change that will make the difference.” Jessica notes that sometimes patients put off a necessary test because of fear. “We can address the fear and help patients feel more comfortable,” she said. “That’s much easier than addressing what could happen if the test is not done.”
Being able to follow her patients’ progress is a great reward of the job, according to Jessica. “If I can help them lose weight, lower their blood pressure, and get off medication, for example, then I’ve helped them toward a longer, healthier life.”
When she’s not working, Jessica enjoys gardening, decorating her home, and taking hikes and walks on the weekends.