Author: Lauren Falkner
Born: Crookston, MN, 1954
Education: Associate Degree in Nursing from St. Luke’s School of Nursing, University of North Dakota – Physician’s Assistant certification
Business: Certified Physician’s Assistant, Plains Medical Clinic, Heartland Healthcare Network
Community Volunteering: St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Moorhead, Birthright of Fargo-Moorhead, Inc, Moorhead Spud Booster, school room mother and chaperone
On success, “Contentment and happiness no matter what you are doing. Raising a good family, being happy with your job, lifestyle, who you are and how you treat others.”
A nurse in MeritCare’s labor and delivery unit for 22 years, Deb Andvik returned to school at UND and became a Certified Physician’s Assistant (PA-C) in 1998. After graduating, Deb joined the family practice department at MeritCare’s Southpoint location and worked at the facility for a little over five years. For the last three and a half years, she has been with the Plains Medical Clinic in Fargo.
Within the physician-PA relationship, Deb is certified and licensed to make independent medical decisions and provides a broad range of diagnostic and therapeutic services. A typical week for Deb includes spending three mornings at Prairie at St. John’s in Fargo seeing patients, administering physicals and monitoring and treating physical problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Back at the Plains Medical Clinic, Deb sees people of all ages at the family practice (or primary care) clinic and orders tests and writes prescriptions. A large part of her practice also includes women’s health care. The rest of her work week involves making and returning phone calls and taking care of the paper work needed for patients’ records and insurance requirements.
At Plains Medical Clinic, Deb is in practice with Dr. Shock and Dr. Harris. Dr. Shock was Deb’s principle teacher during her physician’s assistant training at UND and he provided her with professional guidance and supervision that still inspires her in her profession. Deb said that she admires Dr. Shock’s good and common sense approach to medicine and is happy to be a part of his practice.
Deb also enjoys being a part of the smaller staff and practice at Plains Medical Clinic. It reminds her of a hometown-type clinic – a smaller building and parking lot, a smaller staff who know their patients names and being able to (often times) see people the same day that they call in for an appointment. Deb said that practicing medicine is different today because patients are much more aware and better informed about prevention, diagnosis and treatments of diseases and conditions and demand more from their healthcare provider. She said that people are internet savvy which can be a blessing and a curse as they search on the internet to self diagnose and come in for appointments asking for a certain medication. Deb said that one of the best things about current medicine is that people are healthier longer and that now preventive care continues the entire lifetime of a person.
Deb’s professional goals are to continue at Plains Medical Clinic until she retires and to continue taking classes to stay current in her medical knowledge. She especially likes attending conferences which deal with medical updates and cutting edge research. Deb also reads professional magazines. Deb must also keep up with ongoing continuing education and testing to keep up her professional certification.
Even though Deb loves her profession, her most favorite job has been motherhood. She is the mother of four children who are now 22 to 31 years of age and is also a new grandmother of one. Deb said even during the busiest and most intense times of her professional career she was always focused on being a mom first and foremost.
As Deb pursued her career she strived to keep her professional and home lives balanced and found truth in what Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis once said,” If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.”
Deb worked part time hours when her children were young and when she went back to school and was juggling home and kids, she said that it was doable with the support of her husband. Deb said that it can be challenging returning fulltime to the work force or continuing your education but it is possible to do it after raising your family and to be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.
For more information about Plains Medical Clinic go to www.plainsmedical.comor call 701.499.4800.