As our newest certified nurse practitioner in Akron Children’s School-Based Health Services, Rachel Patterson admits she’s not the one doing all the educating. Many times, she’s learning from her students, too. “They have taught me to be more resilient, play more and worry less, and to find joy in the simple things,” she said.
Rachel brings with her these life lessons, along with a love of learning, to her new role as a health advocate for students. She is passionate about this area of medicine because school health services are a major component to decreasing school absenteeism, keeping kids with chronic illnesses healthy, reducing unnecessary emergency visits, providing preventative screenings, and encouraging successful academic performance.
In her role, Rachel promises to always keep kids’ best interests at heart, be a good listener and advocate for them. If nothing else, her goal is to always leave kids with a smile — even if it’s only for the few minutes she’s with them — because if she can improve the health and well-being of just one child, this is exactly where she wants to be.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
I chose to be a nurse practitioner at Akron Children’s because I am very passionate about providing quality care to children, as well as serving families as a whole by providing family-centered care. I believe fully in Akron Children’s promise to treat every child as your own, and I’m truly honored to be a part of improving the health of children.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish.
My role as a nurse practitioner here is to provide a range of medical services to meet the needs of children, specifically within schools. I hope to decrease the many barriers that exist when it comes to children receiving medical services by making them available in school, where kids spend a large portion of their time.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
I am a certified nurse practitioner in Akron Children’s School-Based Health Services. I chose this area of expertise because I feel school-based health is a major component to decreasing absenteeism in school, keeping children with chronic illnesses healthy, reducing unnecessary emergency visits, providing more health education and preventative screenings.
In addition, school health encourages successful academic performance for students. Anything that can benefit the lives of children is something I want to be involved in.
What impression do you hope to leave with your patients each day?
I hope all of my patients know I’m here for them. I will always have their best interests at heart. I will always be a good listener and an advocate for them, and if anything, I hope to leave them with a smile. Even if I make five minutes of their day better than it was before, I’ll be happy.
What’s the best part of your day?
The best part of my day is getting to work with children. As much as I would love to say I am the one always educating them, there are definitely times when I’m learning something from them, too. They have taught me to be more resilient, play more and worry less, and to find joy in the simple things. The fact that I get to improve their well-being is so rewarding to me.
What achievements are you most proud of?
In all honesty, getting to do this. I wanted to be an APRN for Akron Children’s the moment I started working here as a registered nurse. So, the fact I’m doing just that is a very proud moment for me.
What excites you most about medicine?
I love the fact that medicine is always evolving with new technologies and practice. There is always something to learn about medicine, and I enjoy learning something new every day.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me means achieving the goals of living a better, happier and healthier life, and then helping others to do the same.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
My family includes my husband, Scott, my five-year-old son, Nash, my three-year-old daughter, Nellie, our 8-year-old Golden Retriever named Radley and our one-year-old Labrador named Jack.
What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work?
I give my kids the biggest hug, tell them how much I missed them that day, and ask them all about their days. It is hard for me to not be with them every minute, so I like to know every little detail about their days.
Who are your heroes and why?
My heroes are my parents and my 2 older sisters. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them and their impact on my life. Watching their strength, resiliency and selflessness has molded my life in so many positive ways. They inspire me every day to be the best version of myself.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become.”
What’s the hardest lesson you had to learn?
The hardest lesson I had to learn is that not everyone you love can stay in your life forever. My oldest sister passed away when I was in high school. It was hard for me to grasp that she wasn’t going to be here physically for all my big and small life events, but it also taught me to live each day with gratefulness and to never miss the opportunity to tell my family and friends how much I love them.