Putting the Patient at the Center of Care

Nurse Monica finds the perfect fit at Exemplar Care

“In every respect we put the patient at the center of care. It is the way medicine should work.”

Much is made about the amount of time providers spend with patients in the primary care setting. Study after study shows that more time with providers leads to better outcomes for patients. 

And those benefits aren’t limited to patients. Providers often report they are more satisfied in their practice when they aren’t churning through patients, seemingly minute after minute.

It was the prospect of having more time with patients that drew Monica Thilges, RN, BSN, to Exemplar Care. The model of care at Exemplar Care, which emphasizes getting to know patients beyond an ailment or injury, seemed a perfect fit for her approach.

“I just love the way we provide care at Exemplar Care,” says Monica, who has worked in both the Urgent Care and Direct Primary Care environment and currently was elevated to oversee nursing operations across Exemplar Care.

“It is so different than any other medical facility I’ve ever worked at. In every respect we put the patient at the center of care. It is the way medicine should work.”

Monica has worked in healthcare for more than two decades. She started as a surgical technician in the operating room, and after earning her nursing degree began to work in the critical care environment. She completed her Bachelor’s degree in nursing while continuing to work in critical care. From there she worked at Iowa Donor Network, the state’s organ procurement organization.

The draw of getting back to providing direct patient care – especially the way it is done at Exemplar Care – is what led Monica to her current position. From her first day on the job, she recognized that the approach to care was different. 

“We spend a little more time getting to know our patients when they come in,” Monica says. “It isn’t the kind of environment where we are having to look through their chart before they get here to remember a past diagnosis or a specific condition they are dealing with. If they come in with a cough, we will address that, but we are also go further than that to be sure all their needs are being met.”

“We want them to know we view them as more than a patient. We see them as a person.”

Monica adds that she doesn’t need a study to know that the model of care at Exemplar Care is better for patients.

“Our patients have a personal relationship with their provider,” she says. “Our providers know them, and they know our providers. It allows our patients to receive care based on their specific needs versus just getting what the last person with a similar condition got based on the standard of care.”

“We’re not a patient factory here. We have a more holistic view that puts an emphasis on patients being heard.”

At Exemplar Care Monica specifically appreciates the commitment to serving and supporting people as they are, including those across socioeconomic classes, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and more. This commitment extends beyond the four walls of the clinic and includes formal support for events like Pride Week and offerings for young professionals. All of it adds up to Monica feeling great about where she works.

“I went into nursing because I wanted to help people,” she says. “I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. That was important to me. Being able to care for the whole person like we do here at Exemplar Care is what keeps me going.”
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