Nicolette McDermott-Ketchum, PA-C

Ask Nicolette McDermott-Ketchum, PA-C, her favorite thing about being a Certified PA, and she’ll say it’s “the opportunity to educate her patients on how to control chronic health issues and to improve their overall health.”

She truly believes in the power of education when treating her patients. Diabetes is the most prevalent chronic condition among her patients, who are predominantly Native American (Navajo), and she knows that taking time to listen to them makes a tremendous difference. As a PA in family medicine, McDermott-Ketchum values the long-term relationships she’s been able to build with her patients. She says: “There’s a high level of trust with each of them. We’re almost like family.”

In addition to her clinical work, McDermott-Ketchum has assumed responsibility for numerous administrative tasks.

  • She coordinates CME courses for staff including a CME video conferencing program with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and on-site courses with visiting Brigham and Women’s staff.
  • With one of her team physicians, Dr. Hatch, she started an arts-in-medicine program for hospital staff and patients (including meditation, tai chi, visual and performing arts).
  • She is very active in promoting employee wellness including self-care for healthcare providers who are likely to get tired and burn out. She also provides a presentation during new employee orientation about how to stay happy and healthy at work. She believes “if you have happy employees, their positive experiences will be translated into a more positive experience for our patients/customers.”
  • She started a PAjama and Hygiene Basket drive for survivors of domestic violence in the community. Domestic violence is prevalent among McDermott-Ketchum’s patient population, and they are able to benefit from this drive because the supplies are donated to the local shelters.
  • She promotes the PA profession during PA Week at the hospital with an information table and partnership with a domestic violence team that coordinates activities throughout the week including the PAjama drive. She is the clinical representative in their hospital’s employee recognition program.

Located in the rural Four Corners area in New Mexico, the Northern Navajo Medical Center is the only nearby hospital for these patients, and the providers have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to make an impact in their patients’ lives. Anyone who has worked with or been treated by McDermott-Ketchum would attest that she does just that. “Ms. McDermott-Ketchum works tirelessly to inform patients, fellow PAs, nurses, doctors and administrators of up-to-date concepts and programs to improve Native American healthcare,” says coworker Judie Bock, PA-C. “She’s enthusiastic about every single one of her patients, responsibilities and projects at the hospital; she makes a positive difference in people’s lives.”

Another coworker, Tracy Kurek, PA-C, says “anyone could simply do what she does, but her dedication and positive attitude when she treats patients or organizes employee events is truly infectious– she just makes people happy.”

McDermott-Ketchum is proud to be a part of the “goodness” going on at Northern Navajo Medical Center. Although they work with limited resources, the employees work together to do “more than just take care of patients.”