Telemedicine nurse practitioner and Wheel Clinician Champion, Melissa O., tells us about her career journey through nursing and how the need for greater work-life balance after her daughter’s birth brought her to the Wheel Care Team.
What’s your background and what brought you to virtual care?
After much contemplation on whether or not to go to school for journalism or nursing, I decided to follow in my mother's footsteps and become a nurse! This was the best decision I ever could have made, as I know this is where God led me.
I graduated from nursing school in 2004 with my Associate’s Degree in Nursing and went on to complete a Critical Care Nurse Internship program. I then took my very first nursing job on a cardiac intervention unit, where I remained for seven years working as a staff nurse, preceptor, and charge nurse. Then, I decided to go back to school to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing.
During that time, I decided to try a different area of nursing and took a position in endoscopy, where I worked as a staff nurse, preceptor, and charge nurse. The cool thing about this position is that I got to work alongside my mother!
Once I completed my Bachelor's Degree in Nursing, I decided I wanted to fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse practitioner. I applied to Georgetown University and was accepted into their Family Nurse Practitioner program. I decided I needed a little more excitement in my life and accepted a position in the Emergency Room at the same hospital where I had been working. There, I met the love of my life, to whom I am now married!
In 2016, I graduated from Georgetown University with my Master’s Degree in Nursing and sat for my boards. It was at this time when I was accepted into an Emergency Medicine Residency Program. After completing the ER Residency Program, I took my first Nurse Practitioner position in our local Emergency Room, alongside my husband! During my work as an Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner, my husband and I found out that we were matched with our daughter’s birth mom and I decided to find a position that would allow me more flexible work hours so I could be the mother I dreamed of becoming!
This is when I took a position in gastroenterology. Once our daughter was born, I took some time off to be a stay-at-home mom. Once I decided to rejoin the workforce, I took a position at Lockheed Martin doing mainly urgent care and occupational medicine. Shortly after the pandemic happened, I decided I wanted to find a job where there was work-life balance which led me to explore the world of telemedicine, and boy am I glad I did!
I found Wheel online and decided to apply and later joined! Wheel by far is the best company that I have worked with and I feel truly honored to be a part of the Wheel family! I am in my sixth year as a nurse practitioner and I could not be happier!
What’s your life like outside of work?
I am lucky to have met the love of my life during my time in the emergency room! My husband Nick and I have been married for almost seven years and we have one beautiful daughter that we adopted at birth. She is the light of our lives and so full of energy! She will be four years old this month.
We also have two beautiful Yorkie puppies who are also biological sisters! We decided after our beloved Spike passed away that we would honor his life by getting two little girls who look just like he did. We also have an adorable Cockatiel named Buddy, as well as saltwater fish!
Some of my hobbies include attending church, writing, singing/karaoke (I still wouldn’t go on America’s Got Talent, but I’m not the worst either, lol), traveling to the beach or the mountains of Tennessee, dining out, and of course shopping! I currently live in Orlando, Florida.
What brought you to telemedicine?
I decided to try telemedicine in 2021 which is when I joined Wheel! I decided I needed a better work-life balance, and with everything going on with COVID and the workforce, I decided this would be the best move for me and my family. I am so elated that I made this decision and even more elated that I get to work with a top-notch company!
What’s your Wheel Moment of Reward?
I have so many Wheel moments of reward that it is difficult to narrow it down, but I will say the work-life balance that Wheel provides their clinicians is excellent. I am able to schedule myself around my daughter’s preschool schedule as well as my husband’s ER schedule. I am able to take my daughter to school and pick her up in the afternoons! I am also off on holidays and weekends, which allows me to make wonderful memories with my family in my free time. I have also recently become a Clinician Champion for Wheel which has been very rewarding in itself!
What do you think the future of healthcare holds?
The future of healthcare, especially telemedicine, is very exciting. The one good thing that came out of this pandemic is that the demand for telemedicine and popularity of virtual care has increased! With advances in technology and the ability to see patients all over the country, we are making health care accessible for many people and paving the way for generations to come, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of such a monumental movement!
Thanks, Melissa, 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.