Clinton — Becoming a physician was “something that happened in other families,” reflects Dr. Julie Palmer who completed her three-year residency this past summer and is now an established doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).
No one in her family had ever considered medicine as a career until Palmer, through the encouragement of college professors, boldly stepped into a world of constant study, little sleep and rotations with already-established doctors.
In her first job as a partner of Dr. David Wheat at Clinton Family Care, LLC, Palmer looks back on those seven years of medical school and residency and admits, “Now it doesn’t seem like it was as much a challenge as it really was.”
Palmer is quick to point out that even during the toughest times in school, she has always put her family first, and her concern for others definitely shows through in her work.
“I want to form relationships with my patients — to treat them like I would want my mom or grandmother to be treated,” said Palmer, who is a family medicine practitioner with additional training in muscle and skeletal manipulation.
Taking a more holistic approach with patients, Palmer said she looks at the entire makeup of each individual instead of just focusing on the problem.
Her nurse, Hannah Williamson, said, “Every single patient has said she has an excellent bedside manner. She is straight to the point, but very caring and personal with them.”
Not only have patients recognized Palmer’s instinctive ability with those for whom she cares. The faculty at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, where Palmer did her residency from 2002-2005, honored her this year with the “Award for the Resident Best Exemplifying the Core Principles of Family Medicine.”
Before entering medical school in 1998 at Des Moines University in Iowa, her undergraduate professors at William Carey College in Hattiesburg also identified distinctive characteristics in Palmer that were key ingredients to becoming a successful doctor.
Dr. William Rivero, chair of William Carey’s psychology department, said, “I was immediately impressed with her intelligence, sincerity and her ability to take bold and decisive action. She is the kind of person anyone would want as a physician.”
And, when Wheat began looking for a partner in his Clinton practice, he said he was also struck by her ethics and views on medicine and practice.
“We instantly bonded, and I had an intuitive sense that her views and mine were similar,” said Wheat, who’s been an M.D. for more than 20 years.
Wheat said he instinctively knew he and Palmer would make a good team, immediately contacting her when information from a physician recruiter came over his fax machine. He had been waiting for that perfect referral, a quality doctor he could trust with some of the workload.
“She brings a fresh viewpoint. It’s nice to have another opinion and be able to consult with her,” he said.
Wheat also said he and Palmer complement each other because she has added a “woman’s approach” to the practice.
He said, “I’m sure she’ll develop a certain niche for female patients. There are definitely women out there who prefer to see a woman physician for particular exams, just as there are men who prefer the opposite.”
Palmer agreed and said, “Being a young female, I think I’ll attract a variety of patients. They have many different comfort levels, and Dr. Wheat and I are both open enough with our patients that we feel we provide a friendly environment. We both have the same desire to practice family medicine and to look out for the entire family.”
And, while constantly meeting the goal of being there for her patients, Palmer will always put her own family first.
“My little boy is my greatest joy, and it’ll be even more fun when the second one arrives next month. It’s going to be busy and challenging, but well worth it,” she said.
The challenge will include moving the practice October 31 from the current location on Springridge Road to a new facility on Morrison Drive, just off U.S. 80. But Palmer admits the new building is one of the reasons she was attracted to her new job.
“The potential of having a new office was exciting. The patient rooms will be larger and the lab area for the nurses will be better,” she said.
Palmer also cited the amenities of Clinton as an attraction.
She commented, “It has the feel of a small town, but is close to Jackson. Everyone here bragged on the city’s safety and its school system.”
Contact MBJ contributing writer Harriet S. Vickers at firstname.lastname@example.org.