Respected aunt’s nursing profession leads Patterson to career in family care

OsageFamilyCare

Tammy Patterson, APRN-C, center, Becca Thomas, medical assistant, left, and Lori Colwell, receptionist, right, serve patients at Osage Family Care, 528 Market St., Osage City.

Tammy Patterson’s desire to help people came at an early age, sparked by an aunt she never knew, but who was a proudly respected member of her family. Patterson, owner and primary medical provider of Osage Family Care, gained her interest in the nursing profession as a young girl, after she was the family’s recipient of Aunt Isabel’s nursing scrapbooks and photos.

Aunt Isabel passed long ago, but Tammy has kept her nursing legacy alive, with Isabel’s photo now gracing the Osage Family Care sign above the clinic at 528 Market St., in downtown Osage City.

Patterson, who now holds the credentials as an advanced practice registered nurse, explains she began her career in patient care as a certified nurse’s aide.

“I started as a CNA,” she said, “and decided I liked it. From there I started climbing the ladder and became a LPN and then an RN.”

She continued learning until becoming a APRN – she earned her undergraduate degree at Emporia State University and a Master’s of Nursing degree at Washburn University.

During her work over the years, she decided she enjoyed working with families most.

“Family practice is my favorite field I have worked in,” Patterson said, noting that helped her form her decision to become the primary care provider at Newman Regional Health’s newly opened family practice clinic at Osage City in March 2013.

For more than a year, the clinic began establishing patients from the Osage County and surrounding area, but last summer it hit a snag: Newman’s legal counsel determined that state law does not allow county hospitals to fund facilities outside of their home county. Then came an announcement that Newman’s Osage City clinic would close along with its medical supplies store, which would have resulted in two empty storefronts in Osage City’s downtown.

Patterson said she felt like too much had been invested in establishing the clinic to close it so soon. She began searching for ways to keep the practice open without being under Newman’s ownership.

“I knew I had to take it over,” she said. “I felt vested in this community and had already begun developing strong relationships with patients in this area. And not only from Osage County, we have patients that had started coming from Council Grove, Gardner, Ottawa and Emporia.”

For the next few months, Patterson worked with Newman to create the private practice. Kansas law allows APRNs to operate clinics, but requires involvement of a collaborative physician. With Bryce Heitman D.O., of Emporia, in agreement to serve as collaborative physician, and many more hurdles jumped, ownership was transferred, and the clinic finally opened as a private practice in January of this year.

And with the clinic under new ownership, Patterson was able to keep helping people and providing care for families.

Patients at the Osage Family Care can obtain all of the services expected from a family practice clinic, whether sick visits, lab work, minor procedures, dietary counseling, DOT physicals, and express care.

“Appointments are encouraged, but we do take walk-ins,” Patterson said.

She said her care will focus on prevention, with men’s, women’s and children’s physical examinations encouraged.

“It’s much easier to give good care when people get their annual physical,” Patterson said. “Prevention is key – it’s much easier to prevent than to treat.”

(To encourage annual physicals, the clinic offers a free T-shirt with every physical.)

061615-OFC-LogoIf a patient needs a service or procedure that isn’t available at the clinic, Patterson can refer to specialty clinics or specialists for diagnostics or procedures. Since the clinic is not affiliated with any local hospitals, Patterson can refer patients to where they prefer to go, whether Emporia, Topeka, Ottawa or wherever the services are available. And likewise for pharmacies, as Patterson will send prescriptions to the patient’s pharmacy of choice, but will support local pharmacies when possible.

Patterson lives in rural Reading with her husband, Derek, who is a junior high social studies teacher at Osage City, and children, Malorie, 7, and Riley, 11.

Other employees ready to assist patients at the clinic are Becca Thomas, medical assistant, and Lori Colwell, receptionist.

Osage Family Care is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and is located at 528 Market St., Osage City. Call 785-528-2640 to schedule an appointment.


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