JESSICA SUTHERLAND – MEDICAL ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, HURST, TX
Our employees are all patient care champions, but some go the extra mile and we want to give them the recognition they deserve. They embody the PPOA values known as S.I.T.E. – Safety, Integrity, Teamwork, Empathy – which informs our service to patients and the community through high quality health care.
Jessica Sutherland started her career making people look better, but then found her calling helping others feel better. She found the perfect fit at PPOA’s Precinct Ambulatory Surgery center in Hurst, Texas, and has never looked back.
“I love talking with people. I love the face-to-face and putting patients at ease,” she says.
According to her supervisor, Kristy Gildersleeve, Jessica Sutherland does more than that.
“She has been with PPOA since 2014 and has been my right hand. We are only as good as our parts and she makes PPOA look stellar,” says Gildersleeve.
“She knows every patient and vendor and they all love her. If you are at Precinct and have a question, doesn’t matter what it is, she knows the answer and who to put you in contact with,” Gildersleeve adds, “and Jessica does it all with the warmest most endearing smile.”
The pain management field also appeals to Jessica Sutherland because she, too, is a pain patient. A high school drill team stunt caused her to fall and hurt her back. After years of putting it off – like many pain patients, she was scared of treatment – she finally sought interventional procedures from Dr. Luis Nieves at PPOA’s Hurst clinic.
Later, she had a laminectomy decompression procedure by spine surgeon Dr. Phillip Kravetz. She is now pain free.
“I’ve been a pain patient as well, so I can relate to our patients,” she says. “When people tell me their stories, I can tell them I had the same procedure.”
An Army Brat born at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, Sutherland grew up mainly in Fort Polk, La., and the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas. Like many young people, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do but knew she loved working with people.
Cosmetology school sounded appealing. She got her license in 2009 and worked as a stylist for a few years. Then the birth of her son, Daelan, in 2012 caused her to do some soul searching.
“I wanted something with more stability and more meaning. Good health insurance was also important to me as a mom,” she says.
The answer came from one of her clients, who was in the medical field.
“I always assumed that you were either a doctor or a nurse, and that’s all there was,” she says. “My client told me about all the many careers available. I was so happy to hear there were front desk positions I could train for. That seemed to be a perfect fit.”
Sutherland enrolled in Everest College and got her Medical Administrative Assistant diploma. She got a job at a hospital emergency room doing collections – and hated it.
“It filled me with anxiety; it was so intense,” Sutherland says. “It wasn’t for me.”
She went back into hair styling until a PPOA recruiting effort at Everest drew her back in. And she’s been the friendly face – and go-to person – at Precinct ever since.
“I am always amazed at how she can have someone on the phone, working the computer, while also checking in patients, and responding to the staff as they lay something else on her,” says Gildersleeve.
Sutherland is kept busy in her personal life, too. She and her fiancé, Brad, an Army veteran and construction worker, have a blended family of three sons: Grayson, 7; Daelan, who is now 6; and Braelan, 2.
“In the end I found my calling and I couldn’t be happier,” she says.