Providers Embrace Entire Families

Family Care Practitioners Enjoy Caring for All Ages

No two days are the same for family care practitioners. Throughout their day, they may see a toddler with an ear infection, a woman in her 30s for her annual check-up, and a man in his 60s trying to bring his high blood pressure under control.

“Being a family practitioner is a unique privilege. You see people of all ages for many different reasons,” said Barbara Farb, a certified nurse practitioner with ThedaCare Physicians-Darboy. “It’s always interesting – you never know what will walk through the door.”

Besides the variety, Farb enjoys the opportunity to care for an entire family. “You can see the children and the parents, and sometimes even the grandparents,” she said. “You get to experience growth and life changes with the entire family. It provides you with a multigenerational perspective that brings understanding of challenges the entire family may face. Being able to care for an entire family is something I truly enjoy.”

Farb said caring for several family members allows her to apply her knowledge of one family member to another. For example if the father has high blood pressure, she knows it’s possible that his children could develop the same health problem.

Scott Schuldes, a nurse practitioner at ThedaCare Physicians-Hilbert, agreed. “Caring for an entire family is a wonderful part of being a family practitioner. You really get to know the entire family and it provides you with insight with how things are going,” he said.

Farb said family practitioners also have access to specialists and can make referrals as needed. “If I see someone with a knee problem and I think the patient needs a closer look, I can offer a referral to a sports medicine physician or orthopedics specialist,” she said. “Since we all use the same medical records keeping system, the specialist can look at my notes and I can see his notes so I can stay up-to-date on what’s happening with the patient.”

ThedaCare providers now have expanded access to specialists thanks to being a part of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Through that partnership, primary care providers can use AskMayoExpert, which connects them to a state-of-the-art online medical reference resource created by Mayo Clinic experts. The resource provides the latest knowledge in disease management, clinical care guidelines, treatment recommendations and educational materials.

“It’s a wonderful resource to have available,” Schuldes said. “It’s just another tool we can use to provide the best care possible to patients.”

Being a family practitioner definitely keeps Farb on her toes, but she enjoys the daily challenge. “There’s always something new and I enjoy providing care to people of all ages and caring for an entire family – parents and their children -- is a wonderful option that many providers don’t have,” she said.

ThedaCare™ Physicians includes more than 120 employed physicians at 23 locations throughout the region and includes specialists in family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics and general surgery. According to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, ThedaCare Physicians is a leader in offering same-day access at many of its locations, including lab results and a plan of care before the patient leaves that appointment. ThedaCare Physicians is also the leader in implementing an electronic medical records system, including a patient portal called MyThedaCare that allows patients to access to their medical information, make appointments, refill prescriptions, and consult their physician appointment from their home computer. Two FastCare locations in the Fox Cities serve many immediate needs of patients. 

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of five hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, New London Family Medical Center, Shawano Medical Center, and Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, ThedaCare At Work, and ThedaCare at Home. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,175 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.