Sherrie Bishop, PA-C
For Certified PA Sherrie Bishop, treating patients is more than a diagnosis or medical regimen, it’s digging deeper into patients’ lives and encouraging them to take charge of their health.
Bishop has always been interested in achieving and maintaining optimal health and helping others do the same, a passion that drove her to the medical field. These universal principles guide Bishop at every patient encounter:
Understanding patients’ backgrounds is important.
Obviously, understanding their current medical complaint and family medical history is important in making a diagnosis as well as implementing a treatment plan. However, finding out their interests, hobbies, lifestyle habits, family dynamics and more can aid in making the best treatment decision for that individual.
Patient education can jumpstart recovery.
Instead of simply prescribing medications or suggesting lifestyle changes, Bishop spends time with her patients and explains their diagnoses, the causes and the treatments. In her experience, this approach gives them a sense of ownership and pride in their health. “Treatments are more meaningful to patients if they know why it is recommended, and how it works,” says Bishop. “Just telling a patient to take something without explaining why doesn’t encourage them to improve their health.” Bishop believes the lifestyle choices of her patients should be considered when deciding on a treatment plan and says, “I find that educating a patient also gives them a sense of control in the situation. They are a participant in the treatment, not just the recipient of the treatment.”
Lifestyle changes can make a tremendous difference in treatment outcomes.
She encourages her patients to change their bad habits and don’t just rely on medical treatment to “spot treat” health. She says, “If patients are eating unhealthy foods, not exercising and have a lot of stress in their lives, they’ll likely have multiple health problems that require multiple medications.”
Bishop believes medication alone just puts a temporary Band-Aid on the problem. “Although medication is important and sometimes 100% necessary, living a healthy lifestyle may allow for less of the medication to be needed. Medications have side effects, and sometimes patients end up having to take medications to offset the side effects of other medications. Eating a plant-based diet, getting regular exercise, and keeping stress levels down have been clinically shown to reduce heart disease, reduce blood pressure, reduce diabetes, reduce risk of cancer, improve mental health and have other positive impacts on people’s lives. It will decrease the reliance on medications, people will feel better and they will enjoy a more productive life.”
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
Change doesn’t always happen immediately. Bishop prescribes medications and makes suggestions on how her patients can make changes to improve their health, but recognizes ultimately the decisions are theirs. Some of her patients have been reluctant to make lifestyle changes, but she doesn’t give up on them.
“Sherrie continues to encourage those patients, learns the reasons for their reluctance and finds new ways to overcome it,” says Jean Rybinski, PA-C. “There can be many barriers to making healthy lifestyle changes, including finances, time, family obligations and lack of family support.”
Bishop talks with her patients about “taking baby steps,” focusing discussion on what is reasonable for them to accomplish.
Bishop follows these guidelines because she has seen them make a real difference in her patients’ lives. Not only that, but the impact can spread to have a positive impact on their families. “My patients feel better, have more energy and get involved in more activities. When families start working together on healthier meals and getting more exercise, it improves the family bond.”