For Whitney Young, the perfect ending comes with a new beginning.
As the latest addition to the TCMH Family Clinic in Licking, Young can tick off all plusses to her new position—in the area, close to home, smaller town, rural health clinic, tied to a larger healthcare facility. Check, check and check!
“This is exactly what I was looking for,” Young said with an enthusiastic smile.
Young attended college and graduate school to become a physician assistant, a task that took seven years. She is pleased to have found a job that met all of her criteria, which included a requirement to practice for the first two years in an underserved area.
“I am a National Health Service Corps scholar,” Young said, explaining that the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) requires its scholars to practice in an underserved in exchange for covering loans associated with medical training programs.
Young knew that she wanted to work in a rural setting, preferably close to her hometown of Rolla. When she began looking for a position that met the NHSC requirements in the South Central Ozarks, there were none to be had.
Young contacted TCMH in early 2014, and at the time there were no positions available.
“I decided I would just find a position in the Midwest that met the NHSC requirements, and after I did my required amount of time, I would leave and return home,” Young explained.
As Young began looking outside of the South Central Missouri area, Kimberly Olving, the first physician assistant to work at the TCMH Family Clinic in Licking gave notice that she would be leaving in late July to follow her husband to a new job.
“I knew this was the position I wanted,” Young said about her interview.
Not only did the TCMH Family Clinic position fulfill Young’s NHSC requirements, it was connected to a hospital, too.
“I wanted to work for an organization that had additional resources available for me to use,” Young explained.
To top off the perfect ending to her job search, Young was able to spend her final weeks of physician assistant training working in the TCMH Family Clinic with Olving and Joshua Wolfe, MD.
Olving departed in late July, and Young took and passed her board examination in August and began immediately seeing patients at the clinic.
Patients at the clinic might not guess that Young is a new graduate of physician assistant school. She projects an ease with her patients and their medical conditions. It’s easy for Young to find common ground since she also enjoys hunting, fishing, camping and four-wheeler riding, just like many of her patients.
Young didn’t “grow up” planning to go into healthcare, but she was familiar with the field because she had family members with jobs in healthcare.
Young spent some time shadowing family medicine physicians, a surgeon and a physician assistant, and she knew that she wanted to do something in healthcare other than nursing.
“It was in college that I decided I wanted to pursue the physician assistant career path,” Young said. She attended Westminster College in Fulton where she majored in biology.
Young was able to participate in the cadaver program at Westminster, and she believed that a career as a physician assistant would give her the opportunity to do “hands on” patient care using a “team approach”.
“I liked the way that physician assistants’ worked with a collaborating physician for patient care,” Young said. She also thought that the career path would give her some flexibility in finding a job with hands-on patient care but without hospital inpatients and hospital call requirements.
After graduating from college Young worked as a patient care assistant in the psychiatric unit at Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla. While there, she gained additional experience in healthcare.
Young chose to attend Wichita State University in Wichita, KS for physician assistant training. While in school, she did clinical rotations at rural clinics and hospitals in Kansas, at an Indian Health Service hospital, and internationally in the country of Bolivia.
Because Young planned to return to rural Missouri, she followed a “family medicine” track, training to provide care for patients from birth to end of life.
As a mid-level provider, Young hopes to be able to provide education to her patients when they come to see her.
“I want to have a personal relationship with my patients,” Young said, explaining that she wants to see patients when they are sick, but she also wants to help her patients through preventative medicine and catching healthcare issues early.
“I want to keep my patients healthy, if possible,” Young said.
Young believed that a rural health clinic like the TCMH Family Clinic would provide her with a diverse patient population, and in her first week she saw patients ranging from a two-week old infant to a 91-year old patient.
In addition to preventative medicine, Young has special interest in women’s healthcare and pediatrics. She is also able to provide care for some patients with chronic conditions, too. Young sees patients of all ages—from birth to end of life.
During her eight-week preceptorship at the TCMH Family Clinic, Young was able to meet many of the established patients at the clinic as well as learning the electronic medical records system and other operations of the clinic.
“Kim and Dr. Wolfe were great teachers,” Young said. With a well-established patient base at the Licking clinic, Young was able to “hit the ground running” seeing a diverse group of patients from her first day of work.
“It’s a perfect practice for me,” Young said.
Young is currently commuting daily from her parent’s home in Rolla to Licking, but she hopes to find something closer to Licking in the future.
When she’s not working, Young has plenty of cousins that are close in age and other family members in the area that she spends time with. She enjoys the usual Ozark outdoor activities as well as following college sports and St. Louis Cardinals baseball. She also plays golf and on a church softball league.
Young is accepting new patients at the TCMH Family Clinic in Licking. She sees patients Monday through Friday, and the clinic accepts most forms of private insurance including Medicare and Medicaid. For additional information or to make an appointment, contact the clinic at (573) 673-3011.