Nurse practitioner celebrates 10 years of providing care in Wabasha
This year marks a decade that nurse practitioner Zhonghua (Jessica) Xie has been providing care in southeast Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Originally from China, Jessica attended nursing school in Japan and then spent four years working in an Intensive Care Unit in Asahi, Chiba, Japan.
In 2001, Xie came to the U.S. for graduate school. She pursued her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geriatric practice in nursing at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. Jessica joined what was then Mayo Clinic Health System Lake City-Wabasha Clinic in Wabasha and began practicing geriatric medicine. In 2012, she joined St. Elizabeth’s long-term care facility as a geriatric nurse practitioner. She said choosing geriatrics was a natural choice.
“In China and Japan, we definitely value and respect the elderly,” Xie said. “I am honored to care for members of our community who have now retired and are living in our care center or nursing home. They deserve the highest quality of care.”
While Xie loves practicing in a small town, she said there can be stereotypes when comparing urban and rural healthcare.
“Whether it’s rural healthcare or urban healthcare, our standards as practitioners and providers are the same,” she said.
And, with La Crosse, Winona and Rochester nearby, she says practicing in Wabasha doesn’t really feel remote.
“Practicing in a more rural area encourages us to band together as a team, to use our limited resources and think on our feet,” she said.
There’s something else that Jessica loves that she didn’t see when working at urban medical centers.
“I get to know family members who come in regularly to visit their loved ones in the care center,” she said.
In 2019, with the support of her husband, Wabasha-Kellogg-area builder and contractor Jeff Gusa, Jessica went back to school for her doctorate of nurse practitioner degree. A DNP degree prepares nurses for advanced clinical practice roles and leadership roles in healthcare.
Getting an advanced degree while working full-time during a global pandemic might have been too much for some. But Jessica says it’s all about mindset and support received from her team in long-term care.
“I always believe that if you can overcome an obstacle, you can become a stronger person,” she said.
This year, Jessica plans to establish her practice as a primary care provider at St. Elizabeth’s Wabasha Clinic. She’ll start seeing patients in the clinic two days a week beginning in January 2022.
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