At its annual conference on April 30, 2018, the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) named People’s Center’s very own Deb Olson, PNP as Minnesota’s Pediatric Nurse Practitioner of the Year.
Olson has been a constant at People’s Center throughout 12 years of the organization’s change and development. When she started back in 2006, there were only four staff, and her desk was nothing more than a slab of wood attached to two stands.
“When I think about when I started,” Olson remarks, “we’ve made an incredible amount of progress.”
Olson began her career working with a diverse group of patients over 40 years ago. She started out in 1978 as a nurse at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). Her professional focus has always been on families, working first in obstetrics and then transitioning to pediatrics. Olson’s years of experience have helped her understand how to best relate to each patient, no matter what their age or background.
“It doesn’t matter what culture you’re from,” she says, “Parents love their kids. Parents want what’s best for their kids. I always start with that assumption and remember that what I think their kid needs is not necessarily what the parents think their kid needs.”
This openness, as well as her desire to learn as much as possible about her patients, have helped Olson build trust and establish rapport in the Cedar Riverside community. She says that at this point in her career, most of her patients were referred through word of mouth by a family member or close friend.
Olson also works hard to develop friendships with interpreters, who she feels are her key to forming stronger relationships with patients and families who don’t speak English. She observes,
“There’s an advantage to the interpreters quite often knowing the families better than I do.”
One of Olson’s favorite parts of her job is being able to see a child grow into an adult, and assisting them in navigating the transition from pediatrics into adult medicine.
Olson says that the best way for a new patient to ensure they are receiving the care they need is by trying out different providers until they find the right fit. “We have a variety of providers here, and some personalities are going to fit better than others,” she explains. "I just encourage them to not feel like they have to stick with one person if they don’t feel a connection. But just give somebody a try, and then try somebody else.” Olson assures patients that, using this process, they will find the right match at People’s Center.
She says, “The providers here are a tight group. We’re respectful to each other; we’re really good about helping each other; and I always feel I can go to them with my questions. Everybody is really open and good team members. I think one of People’s Center’s biggest strengths is the strong provider staff.”
To make an appointment with Deb Olson, or another People’s Center provider, please call (612) 332-3973.