Profiles in Telehealth: A Virtual Care DNP on Picking Up New Hobbies and Traveling the World

Meet Stacy J., a DNP, Michigander, and mom of three. After gaining extensive experience in the medical field, Stacy now practices exclusively in telemedicine with Wheel. From reading medical journals to picking up new hobbies, she’s using her flexible schedule to the fullest and has some big travel plans coming up…

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

I am a nurse practitioner with a background in urology, urgent care, and CV/SICU. I have been practicing as an NP for the last four years. Before, I was an RN for 13 years with a background in CVICU, general surgery, orthopedics, plastics, craniofacial surgery, and Trauma/SICU.

I certainly took the “long way” you can say! I have always been interested in medicine, even from a very young age. I started my healthcare journey in high school when I took a medical assisting class. I then worked in a family practice office, followed by a litany of other jobs before applying to college. At that time, I was unsure what I wanted to do whether it be med school or nursing. In the end, I felt nursing was a better option.

I started nursing school in 2005 when my second child was four months old. When I graduated in 2007, I started in a Cardiovascular ICU, then I worked in PACU until completing my advanced degree. After I had about three years of experience, I decided to go back and pursue my BSN.

I had always known if I went back, I was going to pursue an advanced degree. I ultimately decided on U of M and completed their Adult Gerontology Acute Care DNP program in 2018.

After graduating, I took a position at Dartmouth Hitchcock in New Hampshire and helped a surgeon build a new urology practice and I also moonlighted at Urgent Care. Once my contract was up, I decided I wanted to make Wheel my main focus and the rest is history!

What’s your life like outside of work?

I am married with three children (and two dogs) and currently live in Michigan where we moved back from New Hampshire last summer.

I love to travel! I recently returned from a trip to New Orleans and Washington D.C. and we currently have a trip to Scotland planned for later this year. Next year, we're going to the Bahamas in February and Germany in April. My husband and I are also going to the 2024 Summer Olympics that are being held in Paris for our 20th wedding anniversary.

As for hobbies, my new hobby is going to be golf. I have never been one for hobbies in general — unless you count reading medical books and journals, but recently, my husband took me golfing and I quite enjoyed myself so I am going to take a few lessons and start golfing!

What brought you to telemedicine?

I was interested in a way to work from home or virtually almost immediately after starting NP school. I thought working from home or virtually would be amazing and allow me to spend more time with my family. So far, that has proved to be true.

I had heard about Wheel from a friend and acquired a few state licenses and applied. I then started working with Wheel in August of 2019. By the time COVID hit, I had increased my state licenses to 20 (with 4 in progress) and began working with Wheel as my only career. This allowed me the flexibility to help my kids with virtual learning and move back to Michigan last June. It has also provided me with financial security and a way to travel.

What’s your Wheel Moment of Reward?

Working with Wheel, especially once COVID began and the world shut down, allowed me to be with my kids mentally and physically and help them through virtual learning and all of the confusion of that time. We were able to spend a lot of time together as a family, hiking all the amazing trails in New Hampshire, teaching the kids how to play euchre and darts, etc. That would not have been possible if I had been working outside of the home or in a hospital setting at that time.

Since things have settled out, I love the flexibility in my schedule to be able to travel and spend time with extended family as well as just relax!

What do you think the future of healthcare holds?

I think the future of digital healthcare is here to stay and is only going to explode. I look forward to expanded lab services and specialty medicine coming down the line. I think the possibilities are endless for any service if they are designed purposefully and with the client and provider in mind. So much can be done virtually.

I think mental health has suffered the most in this country. Not only over the last 2+ years but the last few decades and I am hopeful for digital mental healthcare expansion as a way to reach those who do not have traditional 9-5 jobs, do not have insurance, or the marginalized who do not feel safe obtaining in-person care. We need more mental healthcare providers and to have more enter the virtual space, I think will help lessen the burden in communities.

Thanks, Stacy, 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 NP on her path from candy striper to virtual care clinician, an adventure-seeking NP on finding more time for family with virtual care, and a physician on the future of telemedicine.