Deborah Boehm, a nurse practitioner in the Medicine Clinic at Hennepin County Medical Center, talks about her job.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
I specialize in cross-cultural health and carry my own roster of primary care patients, seeing someone every 15 to 30 minutes. My patients are adults, many who come in with a family member or a case worker. About half require interpreter services. I also call patients with results or answer health-related questions on the phone, and I keep my patients' electronic medical records current.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
I can provide direct healthcare through my licensure as a registered nurse and certification as a nurse practitioner. I think this is a good deal for patients and the financers of healthcare; they get two forms of education in one person.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
I coordinate patients' healthcare with physicians and other service providers such as physical therapists, nutritionists, medical supply companies and home health agencies.
Q: Why did you become a nurse practitioner?
I've been a nurse practitioner for 30 years and wanted to provide outpatient care. At the start of my career, it was a very new model for healthcare delivery and new things have always engaged me. I have always sought out unusual or different paths.
Q: What do you like about your work?
I relish independent decision-making in a collaborative group practice. I can maintain relationships with my patients over many years. That's what keeps me coming back. I'm not isolated in a practice. I can see the direct effect of my work on patients' health. Also, I can generally set my own schedule. As a woman and mother, that's been really important to me.