Profiles in Telehealth: An NP on Her Path From Candy Striper to Virtual Care Clinician

Mackenzie S. is an NP with Wheel and has been practicing nursing for the last ten years. Over time, she's cultivated a life that allows her to pursue her passion for nursing and women's health while having more time to create precious memories with her husband and two daughters.

What’s your background and what brought you to virtual care?

I am a nurse because of my mother’s influence - the apple didn’t fall far from the tree! I’ve been volunteering and working in the medical field for the better half of my life, beginning in my early teens as a “candy striper.”

I have been a nurse for about a decade now. My bedside background consisted of intensive care and as I transitioned into my role as an APRN five years ago, I found my home in the realm of primary care with a particular interest in reproductive and sexual health. Education and “paying it forward” to my profession have always been especially important to me, so I have, and continue to teach and mentor by formal and informal means.

Most recently, I am a part-time clinician with Wheel, a part-time women’s health nurse practitioner, and an adjunct professor for my alma mater's DNP program. This career has brought such flexibility and variety to my life!

What’s your life like outside of work?

I live in Warsaw, IN. We recently relocated back here (thanks Wheel for the flexibility!) and are settling into our new home. This is the first home we’ve had a garden, so we’re on our first attempt of growing our own vegetables! Warsaw is coined the “Orthopedic Capital” and has many beautiful lakes (Winona Lake and Lake Wawasee probably being the most notable) where we enjoy spending our summers.

My husband, Nate, and I recently celebrated a decade together and 6 years of marriage! Most of my free time is spent with our two daughters, Millie (2 years), and Natalie (8 months). We also have a very loved cat, Pete, named after Purdue Pete (Boiler Up!). I’d like to say I have all sorts of hobbies, but…maybe when our girls go to elementary school! In all seriousness, I like to get out and be active (as much as Indiana weather will allow), but I can’t say I’m brewing beer or crafting at this time in my life. We like to travel as much as possible and particularly enjoy visiting Scottsdale, AZ, and Seaside, FL (where we were married).

What brought you to telemedicine?

Having children naturally opened my eyes to the opportunities in telemedicine. I realized just how precious my home time was and wanted to be available for my family while continuing to pursue a career that I absolutely love. I often thought to myself how many issues in the primary care world could safely and effectively be managed by more desirable and convenient means for providers AND patients.

I remember stumbling upon a posting for Wheel on LinkedIn about two years ago. I hadn’t the slightest idea what this journey would entail, but I’m so glad Wheel gave me a chance when I applied. I will never look back! The impact this care delivery has had on myself and the patients we serve has been astounding.

What’s your Wheel Moment of Reward?

Fortunately or unfortunately, I very recently experienced a Wheel moment of reward when my entire household became sick with COVID. While I am grateful it has not been severe, it has greatly impacted productivity. I was allotted grace within this role when I needed to take time away to tend to my daughters, yet provided opportunities to make up for hours missed. I can attest that Wheel focuses on the clinician and brings a whole new meaning to “you can’t pour from an empty cup”.

What do you think the future of healthcare holds?

I smile because this is just the beginning and it feels great to be a part of something so big! I envision the future of healthcare remaining, yet expanding, right at the clinicians’ and patients’ fingertips. It’s inevitable that care will become more self-directed for patients with more on-demand and remote patient monitoring capabilities to guide care. Healthcare clinicians will continue to be integral advocates and resources patients need to be well.

While critics may argue telemedicine is impersonal, I believe the time and energy this delivery allows is bringing back the heart of medicine that traditional care has been lacking…and it’s not going anywhere!

Thanks, Mackenzie, for being a 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 an adventure-seeking NP on finding more time for family with virtual care, a physician on the future of telemedicine, and an NP on fulfilling her dream of working completely remote.