Urban farmer, beekeeper, and mom. Dr. Jocelyn Talbot relishes all of her roles. But the one that’s at the forefront of her mind each day is leader of Vancouver Clinic’s Team Medicine. Dr. Talbot has been heading this new approach to care—and the feedback from patients has been extremely positive.
At its heart, Team Medicine is a simple idea. A physician collaborates with multiple nurse practitioners to provide comprehensive care to patients. Instead of seeing a single doctor, patients can see anyone on the team when they need to have a check-up or are sick. With this approach, patients can get medical help faster while enjoying the same continuity of care.
“People have said it’s the best primary care experience they’ve had in years,” said Dr. Talbot, who specializes in internal medicine.
When patients join Team Medicine, they generally have a new patient visit with a nurse practitioner, and may be introduced to a physician or other members of the team at that time. Behind the scenes, a doctor and team of nurse practitioners collaborate to review patient visits, look at lab results, answer patient messages, talk with specialists, coordinate care, and discuss complex medical situations or diagnoses. There is a strong focus on the health history, goals, and preferences of each patient.
“Working together as a team allows us to benefit from each member’s strength and passions.” Dr. Talbot explained.
The team approach also increases access. Most Team Medicine patients can schedule an appointment the same day, or within 24 hours, which means fewer urgent care visits. What’s more, patients can be seen by a provider who is already familiar with their health.
Patients also benefit by receiving care from providers who are part of a long-term mentorship program. While all the nurse practitioners in Team Medicine are licensed to see patients on their own and to prescribe medication, they’ve chosen to hone their clinical skills by working under the guidance of a highly experienced physician. When there is a medical mystery or a tough conversation, patients often get “two brains for the price of one,” with a doctor and a nurse practitioner participating in real-time evaluation, discussion, and planning at the time of their appointment.
The Team Medicine approach is similar to the traditional residency model for doctors, a proven way to advance medical education.
“There’s a great amount of intellectual curiosity and discussion that goes on,” Dr. Talbot said. “You’re working with people at the peak of their training.”
Dr. Talbot herself loved being a resident physician, with its accompanying focus on collaboration, clinical excellence, and life-long learning. Being a mentor has only deepened her appreciation for medicine, and her passion for primary care.
“The relationship that we have with our patients, seeing them in illness and in health, and knowing their story, makes it incredibly rewarding,” she said.