Profiles in Telehealth: An LCSW Completes Her Doctorate with Virtual Care

We sat down with LCSW, Sarah L., to hear how telemedicine gave her the flexibility to provide virtual care to more patients during the pandemic while simultaneously completing her doctorate degree.

What’s your background? What did you do before practicing telemedicine?

I started off working at the VA and then progressed to working with the Department of Defense. It was a great honor to serve in the Navy for 4 years. I tend to do a lot of trauma work, including EMDR. I also see general mental health concerns, so a lot of anxiety, depression, adjustment disorders, and relationship issues. I have been practicing for 23 years. I recently left a position as the Acting Chief of Counseling Services at the Phoenix Indian Medical Center so that I could pursue my doctorate full-time.

What’s your life like outside of work?

My personal life is limited now due to work and school. However, I look forward to having the summers off. My time now is spent getting ready for our daughter. She is our first. We expect her to arrive in May, so between decorating her nursery, I am resting as much as possible.

What brought you to telemedicine?

I was introduced to telemedicine when the pandemic hit in March 2020. We had to quickly solve the problem of getting the much-needed care to our patients. I found our results to be just as good as in-person visits. Technology is never perfect, but I find that in today's world people are getting more comfortable with the concept. It also gets us access to patients where we would not otherwise have it.

What’s your Wheel Moment of Freedom?

I appreciate the flexibility afforded to me by my employment with Wheel.

I get to choose my hours during the day which helps me to stay focused on completing my Doctorate. I have worked full-time hours for over 23 years, so it is fun running errands during the day. Who knew going to the mall on Monday morning could be so much fun?

What do you think the future of healthcare holds?

I think there are great things on the horizon. I recently learned about computer-automated motivational interviewing interventions that are in development. This would be so helpful in some of our rural underserved areas. And the research is showing good results, it's just a matter of getting buy-in from local clinics. There is still resistance to online interventions. However, I think we are obligated to show the financial and clinical results so that we can offer more options to our remote population.

Thanks, Sarah, for being an essential member of the #WheelCareTeam!

Interested in joining our team of virtual care clinicians? Learn more about working in telehealth with Wheel.

Discover more clinician experiences in our previous Care Team spotlight interviews with a telehealth NP on the COVID frontlines, a family NP finding rewards in expanding patient access, and an emergency medicine turned telemedicine MD balancing work and fatherhood.

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