When she’s not busy inside saving the lives of kids and teens as Akron Children’s newest pediatrician in emergency medicine, Jessica Langston, MD, can be found enjoying life outside. The fresh-air junkie enjoys any adventure outdoors, from hiking, biking and skiing to gardening to kayaking and canoeing. Most recently, Dr. Langston and her husband traveled to Costa Rica for two weeks of outdoor thrills: zip lining, whitewater rafting, hiking, and animal watching, where they spotted a tapir, crocodile, scarlet macaws, sloths and so much more.
But as much as Dr. Langston loves experiencing the great outdoors, she’s most passionate about bringing that energy and enthusiasm to Akron Children’s Hospital Emergency Room, Boardman. Whether it’s a head injury, COVID-19, broken bone, severe asthma attack or any other acute-care scenario, she’s living out her dream to provide excellent, compassionate care to acutely ill and injured children.
The most thrilling part? Making a difference in someone else’s day! she said. “Finishing a visit knowing a patient and family member feel more at ease and comforted than when they first arrived is a great feeling and a main reason I chose emergency medicine.”
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
I chose to come to Akron Children’s because of the unique opportunity to work as a pediatrician in the Emergency Department. In residency, the ED was always where I wanted to be. I spent several extra months rotating in the ED and picked up more shifts whenever I could. I am so excited to be back in the ED!
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish.
I am a pediatrician in Akron Children’s Emergency Department on our Beeghly campus. I have always been passionate about providing care for acutely ill and injured children. I hope to provide excellent, compassionate care to the children and families of Mahoning Valley and the surrounding areas, while continuing to develop my career as a pediatrician.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
I am a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC), which means I have completed extra training in the practice of breastfeeding medicine. I have always been fascinated by breastfeeding medicine, and I especially enjoy no matter where you work in a children’s hospital, breastfeeding support is always needed and important. I look forward to supporting breastfeeding mothers who bring their infants to the ED.
When did you decide to become a provider and why?
I decided to become a provider in college. I was actually a forensic science major, but loved my biology courses so much that I changed majors. I realized soon after that medicine was the best way to join together my enthusiasm for biology and science with my desire to work with and help people. I had no idea what kind of doctor I wanted to be when I started medical school, but fell in love with pediatrics in my third year. It was my first clinical rotation and I knew from day one I wanted to be a pediatrician.
What do you like most about being a provider?
The best part about being a provider is making a difference in someone else’s day. Being able to finish a visit knowing that a patient and family member feel more at ease and comforted than when they first arrived is a great feeling. It is one of the main reasons I am dedicating my career to treating acutely ill and injured children.
What do you think is the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of being a pediatrician is giving patients and families bad news. It can be stressful to have to tell a child they have a broken bone and cannot participate in sports this season, or to tell a parent of a toddler with recurrent ear infections that they have another ear infection and may need ear tube surgery. It is comforting to know you are providing the best care you can, but it can be difficult to tell patients and families news they may not want to hear.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of being a provider?
I am lucky to have a great support system around me to deal with the emotional impact of being a pediatrician. My husband, family, co-workers and friends provide me with constant love and support, and they are a great comfort to me on emotionally tough days.
What excites you most about medicine?
The intersection of medicine and technology is very exciting to me. Technology like 3-D printed organs is so amazing! The possibilities of what technology can do for the field of medicine are endless, and I look forward to seeing how much is discovered throughout my career.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
My family is made up of my husband, Grant, our 11-year-old Maine Coon cat, Khaleesi, our 18-month-old Australian Shepherd, Pippin, and myself. We love spending our days off hiking or canoeing with Pippin and sitting on the couch watching TV with Khaleesi. I am also lucky to live close to my mom, dad, 2 sisters, 3 nephews and niece, as well as a few members of my husband’s family. We enjoy spending our time with them as much as possible.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
When I am not working I love to be outside as much as possible! My husband and I love hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing and skiing. I really enjoy doing projects around our house and recently started gardening this spring. I can also be a couch potato and enjoy watching TV and reading.
How do you unwind from a busy day?
To unwind after a busy day, I like to eat dinner with my husband and then play fetch with our dog. Pippin is great at catching frisbees and balls in mid air. Talking with my husband and watching Pippin run around, having so much fun, is a great way to forget anything stressful from my day and just enjoy what is in front of me.
What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
I have been lucky enough to travel to quite a few places, but my favorite spot is Stone Harbor, New Jersey. My mom and grandmother grew up going there, and I have been going since I was little. It is so comforting to return to the cozy town with familiar stores and restaurants year after year.
I especially love going to the Wetlands Institute, a research institute focused on educating and protecting the salt marsh of the Jersey Shore. I believe my travels here while growing up contributed significantly to my love of science!
What’s the last adventure you went on?
My husband and I went to Costa Rica for 2 weeks this past May. We went zip lining, whitewater rafting, animal and bird watching, and hiking. We even flew on a very small airplane to a remote part of Costa Rica to hike in one of the most biologically diverse places on Earth. I am very scared of flying so this was quite the adventure for me! It was the start of the rainy season and it poured on us, but it was such a great experience. We saw a tapir, a crocodile, scarlet macaws, sloths, and many interesting amphibians and insects.