Growing up, Dr. Jessica Barnes gravitated toward games that required solving puzzles. She enjoyed the challenge and, of course, the reward that often came with hard work: winning the game! So it’s no surprise as an adult she’d choose a career path she equates to a puzzle, where you have to employ good investigation skills to find a solution.
In her new role as a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Akron Children’s Hospital Emergency Room, Boardman, Dr. Barnes plays medical detective in evaluating, diagnosing and treating all types of emergencies in children and teens. Whether it’s a head injury, COVID-19, broken bone, severe asthma attack or any other acute-care scenario, she tackles medical mysteries by searching for answers to provide treatment and ease pain and anxiety in kids.
Dr. Barnes loves coming to work never knowing how her day will play out, but nothing beats the reward because ever time she closes a case, she improves — or even saves — a child’s life.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
I wanted to move closer to family after being away for 14 years. I also rotated as a medical student with Akron Children’s and loved the atmosphere.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish.
I am currently working at Akron Children’s Hospital Emergency Room, Boardman. I really love to teach and hope to get more involved in both teaching students and residents.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
I chose emergency medicine because I have always loved procedures and critical care. I like coming to work and never knowing how my day is going to go.
What impression do you hope to leave with your patients each day?
I just hope to be a positive experience, even if it is the worst of my patients’ days.
How does your personality fit your role?
As a child, I loved playing games that require you to collect clues and solve puzzles. I think that medicine is a puzzle, where you have to have good investigation skills to find the solution.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I had some hiccups during my training, and overcoming these obstacles and finally getting to my end point is what I am most proud of.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of being a provider?
I like to snuggle with my rescue pups and try to remember that not all things in life are tragic.
What are you most looking forward to?
I’m most looking forward to having a positive impact on trainees for both guidance and education.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in West Mifflin, PA. Ever been to Kennywood? If so, you were less than a mile from where I grew up.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
My family includes my partner, James Needle (I was not about to change my name to Dr. Needle!), and my 2 rescue pups: Socks and Leelu.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I love to go indoor rock climbing (hopefully someday outdoor), take dance classes (any kind) and travel.
What skill would you like to master?
I would love to get better at climbing so that I can climb outdoors and potentially climb Devils Tower, the National Monument in Wyoming.
What’s the best thing about your family?
My family has so much fun together and we make great homemade Polish food.
What’s the best and worst advice you ever received?
The best advice I received was: “It’s only 2 more years to really get to do what you want to do, so just do it! In other words, fight for what you want!
The worst advice I received was: “Everything will work out on its own, so don’t worry too much about it.” I disagree. Everything requires hard work!