Med student completes rotation at Meeker Family Health

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Tessa Hennesy

By NIKI TURNER | editor@ht1885.com

MEEKER | If you’ve visited Meeker Family Health in the last six weeks you may have met Tessa Hennesy, a third year CU School of Medicine student completing a rotation in family medicine. During the third year, medical school students get to test out different subspecialties of medicine through a series of rotations. “We get to try a little bit of everything,” she said. “Some people say third year is what you’re here for.” 

Hennesy, a Denver metro resident, just completed her rotation and said she enjoyed it. “I get to meet patients, I get to kind of challenge myself, especially here, and ask myself what I would miss if I were the doctor,” she said of her time at PMC. “It’s this beautiful mesh of everything I’ve learned from books and lectures and then you have to tweak it all and it’s about the patient.”

She’s done a two-week rotation in neurology and a rotation in psychiatry. She enjoyed the psychiatry rotation because of the time she could spend talking to each patient. “That’s kind of streamlined well into family medicine. You’re in charge of the entire patient, their entire well-being, and nothing is off-limits.” 

Hennesy didn’t necessarily follow a traditional path to medicine as a career. Two doctors in her family — OB/Gyns on her father’s side — encouraged her to “do anything else.” 

She said her initial thought was to become an engineer and make biomedical devices, but when she got into a semester of engineering at CU Boulder, she realized she wanted something different. “It wasn’t people-y enough. I wanted to be talking and working with people,” she said. She switched majors and went into neuroscience and audiology and speech pathology and started doing research in audiology and after realizing research wasn’t her passionshe  went ahead and headed into pre-med.

She said she hasn’t regretted the decision at all. “I love talking to patients and hearing their stories and symptoms.”

She hadn’t heard of Meeker or visited before the rotation. “It’s kind of a hidden gem,” she said. “It’s really grown on me. I think it makes the medicine a lot more meaningful. It’s more personal. People here look out for each other. It’s not anonymous. It forces you to have relationship-based medicine. I have to understand my patient’s needs.”

Hennesy’s next rotation is in emergency medicine back in Denver, but she said she’s most nervous about the surgical rotation which is yet to be scheduled, partly because surgery is less about getting to know the patients and more about proving your procedural skills and knowledge of anatomy. 

When asked how our clinic and hospital compare to others she’s been in, Hennesy said it has made her think a lot more about using medical resources like testing and specialists, calling it more of a “shared decision” with patients as to whether they want or need a certain test or to see an out-of-town specialist. 

“I haven’t been to a lot of small towns, but I can’t really imagine somebody doing a better job than they do here,” Hennesy said.

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