FLINT, Michigan — For Nurse Practitioner Sheila Thomas, taking care of her patients is more than just prescribing medications and sending them on their way. She takes care of them the minute they walk in, and it doesn’t just end there.
Thomas works at the Hamilton-McFarlan Senior Health Center in Flint and has worked there for about a year. She grew up around the area and loves working with the community.
“When I did clinicals over there, I saw a lot of people that I knew, and I told myself that this is the place that I want to be. I love it here,” said Thomas.
Hamilton-McFarlan was established in 1983 and has seven clinics in Genesee County. Its mission is to provide excellent compassionate healthcare for all communities they serve, and its vision is to deliver comprehensive healthcare, accessible to all, regardless of ability to pay according to the Hamilton Community Health Network
Hamilton-McFarlan has apartments that the community can live in as well. Events also take place for the community as Thomas has done a few events to give out boosters and vaccines.
“This place is phenomenal. They even had food trucks come out one time and a DJ,” said Thomas. “They love to show their appreciation to the residents. They're normal people like you and me, they just live in a senior living apartment.”
Thomas believes that more steps need to take place first before prescribing medications. A patient of hers had been prescribed over 30 medications and instead of prescribing more, Thomas went ahead and did some bloodwork.
“We did the blood and took time to go over the lab work with her. That's what she liked. She had told me that no one has ever done that before,” said Thomas. “I make sure that I give the patients their lab work and go over it. I show them what the numbers are and give them a copy of their lab work so that if anything changes the next time, you see the changes between the two.”
Thomas also believes it is important to find the root cause of the problem first before prescribing medication.
“For those that take pain medicine, and I'm not saying people don't have pain, I think that you need to go to physical therapy to see what's wrong,” she says. “To see what's causing the problem before putting you on some pain pills.”
Thomas gets to know her patients and makes them feel comfortable which could explain why her patients keep coming back.
“I still see some of the patients that came from where I used to work. I used to see them before I came to Hamilton-McFarlan and they followed me here,” said Thomas. “So, I see my younger patients as well and they are happy that I'm here and they can follow me over.”
Thomas is transparent and honest with her patients when they are in her care. She says that the first step is to open that door for people. Sometimes people are not comfortable sharing certain information and asking certain questions makes it easier for them to open up.
Thomas shares that she just simply talks to her patients like the human beings they are.
“I like people and that's what I'm here for. It's just to make sure that they are happy living their life,” said Thomas.
For more information on Hamilton-McFarlan Senior Health Center, visit the website and find it on Facebook.