Meet Maggie Schlude, Nurse Practitioner at The Wright Center’s School-Based Health Centers

Since joining The Wright Center’s team, Maggie Schlude has administered exceptional care to students in the Scranton Maggie SchludeSchool District. Maggie also serves patients in The Wright Center for Primary Care offices in Clarks Summit and Mid Valley.

Education: I attended Misericordia University for my Bachelor of Science in Nursing where I graduated in 2011. I then accepted a position at Moses Taylor Hospital where I worked for four years. Two years into my nursing career, I decided to go back for my Master’s Degree. The obvious choice was my alma mater, Misericordia University, where I obtained my advanced practice degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Most important lesson you learned in nursing school: Listen to the patient. As a nurse, we are given the tools to recognize signs and symptoms of illnesses and life-threatening problems; however, patients do not always present as the textbook says they will. Patients often have a keen sense of knowing when something is wrong with them. Listen, listen, listen.

What inspired you to become a nurse practitioner? I always knew I wanted to go further with my nursing degree. I enjoyed bedside nursing but I also knew I wanted autonomy. I enjoyed advocating for my patients, particularly seeing them become healthier. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of that process, and be the one who helped bring about those healthy outcomes.

Why didn’t you become a doctor? I actually get asked this question a lot, there are even times I ask myself the same question and my answer is always the same. Being a nurse has allowed me to appreciate and listen to the patient. As a bedside nurse, how a patient was feeling and how their concerns affected them, affected me. I would advocate for them. The most important part of treating a medical problem is to pay attention to the patient and acknowledge how these issues are affecting their quality of life. I believe nursing gave me a different mindset when it comes to patient care and I apply those skills in my career now as a nurse practitioner.

School-Based Health Centers Scranton School DistrictWhat are some of your primary responsibilities as a nurse practitioner in Scranton’s School-Based Health Centers? School-Based Health Centers are unique in that I provide care right within the school setting, while kids are already in school. I work hand in hand with the school nurses to make sure students have access to healthcare and am also a resource for the kids when they are sick. I see children for daily visits when they present with stuffy noses, sore throats, rashes, etc. A big part of my job in the School-Based Health Center is making sure the students have the required immunizations and physicals so they are allowed to stay in school. Pennsylvania changed the guidelines for immunizations in 2017 and we want to make sure that students can be seen within the School-Based Health Center for their shots and physicals. Right now, I am focusing on making sure that all of the students have the immunizations they need.

Challenges of working with the school-aged population: A lot of young students don’t really take responsibility for their own health. They haven’t yet realized that their parents can’t take care of them forever and that they are in control of their health more than they know. I try to help them identify healthy choices and behaviors because that can follow them throughout their life.

Rewards of working with the school-aged population: I get to know the kids I treat and I see these students frequently. Building relationships with students in the school is so important and I focus on building a positive initial experience with them through the School-Based Health Center. I want the kids to have a positive image about what it means to receive medical care. Sometimes when kids only see a doctor when they are sick or need shots there is a missed opportunity to encourage positive, preventive behaviors. I see kids opening up to me and that’s really rewarding. I can tell when their day isn’t going well, when there is something else going on at home, when they are working through common teenage struggles. This happens because they know they can trust me and I am definitely glad to be a resource for them.

Most common type of care/treatment you deliver: The convenience of the School-Based Health Center allows me to see a wide range of ailments. I concentrate on primary preventative care which promotes health in order to prevent illness. I help the students with everyday health issues, including well checkups, sore throats, rapid strep screens, colds or allergies, etc. I administer vaccinations, do blood work, check vision and hearing, and refer to specialists when needed. I also have treated teachers and support staff throughout the day because the School-Based Health Center wants to make sure that everyone who impacts a student’s learning is on top of their game. I also see patients at The Wright Center for Primary Care’s Clarks Summit and Mid Valley offices.

Share an important health tip for students: Making healthy choices now will set the path for a healthy life in the future.

How long have you worked with The Wright Center? I joined the team in September 2016.

Benefits to working with The Wright Center: A lot of people automatically think about doctors when they think about healthcare. I think The Wright Center is unique because our group of Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners and extenders is exceptional. We have such a good team with players that collaborate and always strive for exceptional patient care. I am proud to be a part of such a great team of advanced practice professionals.

Plans for the future of your career: I always pictured my career working with kids and my passion is with pediatrics. In my role in the School-Based Health Centers, I hit the jackpot. I have considered going for a doctorate at some point, so we will see!

Family: Boyfriend, Craig and our daughter, Avery, 1 year, who light up my life. The best parents in the world, Molly and Jerry, two brothers, Michael and Matthew, their wives Stephanie and Julie, 3 nieces and 2 nephews.

Hometown: Hanover Township

Why did you choose to work in Northeast PA? It’s where I am from and where my family is. I have been blessed with a great opportunity to work here, in my field and it’s the right fit for me.

When you’re not at work: I am chasing my daughter around, tripping over toys and enjoying time with family and friends.

Thoughts on cell phones: It’s America’s newest addiction! I recently watched a documentary on 60 Minutes about cell phone use. Studies have been done when you put your phone down – your brain signals your adrenal gland to produce a burst of a hormone called, cortisol, which has an evolutionary purpose. Cortisol triggers a fight-or-flight response to danger. Studies have been performed in which participants aren’t allowed to get to their phone while it is across the room ringing. These studies have shown that there are proven stress responses when we aren’t able to “check” our phones. Their research suggests our phones are keeping us in a continual state of anxiety in which the only antidote is the phone. I know I am guilty of being on my phone too much and I’m working on that. Last thing I want my child to see is my face in my phone. I hope as a society we can put our phones down and be more aware. You may be interested in boosting your testosterone levels if your doctor says you have low levels, or hypogonadism, or need testosterone replacement therapy for other conditions for your benefits. If you have normal testosterone levels, increasing your testosterone levels may not give any additional benefits. The increased benefits mentioned below have only been researched in people with low testosterone levels.

Favorite place in Northeast PA: My favorite place in Northeast PA is Harvey’s Lake. Relatives of mine have a lake house there and I’ve had so many great memories there. I think it’s a place that really shows the beauty of our area. Sometimes we may take it for granted, but we live in a beautiful part of the country with mountains, valleys, rivers and lakes. Take a minute to look around you and enjoy it.

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