Featured Clinician: Nicole Haig Jasper, MD

Posted on Mon, Jun 06, 2016
Featured Clinician: Nicole Haig Jasper, MD

The heart and soul of our practice are our clinicians. Meet Nicole Haig Jasper, MD, emergency department medical director at Coliseum Medical Center in Macon, Ga.
Years with EmCare: 4

Years practicing medicine: 14
Why did you decide to become a doctor? Why did you choose your specialty? I decided to become a physician because I am a “people person” and I have an innate desire to see people happy and healthy. I choose emergency medicine for several reasons. The great lifestyle, when my shift is over I leave work at work, as well as the intensity and the diversity. Emergency medicine is ever changing; it’s like a box of chocolates – never know what you are going to get. I can't really predict what my day is going to be like,  which is a huge factor in what keeps me motivated to go back to the ED each day. I'm also a people person. I love meeting new people every day. I meet their family and friends, hear their stories and learn some of their most intimate details within moments. I love that interaction. But above all, I get immense personal satisfaction when I know I've made a positive difference in the lives of my patients.
What career did you want to pursue when you were younger? I always wanted to be a doctor or a professional dancer. My parents advised me I could dance in my free time!
Describe one of your greatest professional accomplishments. My most significant professional accomplishment has been stabilizing the emergency department as site medical director at Coliseum Medical Center over the past year. When I began as medical director, the ED was in a state of dismay. The department lacked leadership and organization. Providers worked without guidance, support, feedback or accountability. The pervasive attitude was complacency, and it permeated into every facet of the ED, from patient care to personnel interactions to interdepartmental relations. I was faced with coming into this environment as the outsider – lacking any relationships – for better or worse. I first had to silently observe the department so I could gain some basic understanding of what existed. I did that for 60 days, holding back my innate need to improve things immediately. Simultaneously, I met with my providers, nurses and C-suite to gain their perspective on the good, bad and ugly. Through that effort I laid the groundwork to create mutually interactive relationships built on trust and respect. I really see myself as a catalyst working to affect change. I have learned that working with my different teams through buy-in, engagement and support have been pivotal in affecting the change necessary to take our ED to the next level.
What is in the pockets of your lab coat? Gum, peppermints, my reading glasses (although I’m still in denial that I need them!), lip balm, hand lotion, business cards.
What would be your ideal category on “Jeopardy”? Exotic ports of call
What are your tips for “leaving work at work” and not getting burned out professionally? When you get in the car to drive home, let that be your down time. No phone calls, just decompress. Try not to work more than four days a week. Our careers are intense and will wear on you over time physically, emotionally and psychologically. Also vacation every 3 to 4 months, even if it’s only for a long weekend. That gives you an opportunity to recharge, regroup and keep perspective.
How are you “making healthcare work better”? I am making healthcare better by doing my small part sincerely and consistently. I try to give the best care to my patients every day, with a smile! I hope that I inspire other women and mothers to achieve their dreams in medicine and science.
What’s the best advice you’ve received about work or life? Remember your true legacy – your family. Work as hard as you can at work, but remember the lives that you will consistently influence for a lifetime are your children's, and they are only children for a brief moment. Always balance family and career.
What do you enjoy outside of work? I love to travel, try new extreme activities and eat amazing food!
What’s your favorite inspirational quote? The Serenity Prayer.
What qualities make you a successful doctor? My love of people, love of life, and drive to make people have healthy, happy lives.
How would your co‐workers describe you? Engaging, assertive, energetic.
Tell us something that most people at work don't know about you. My parents are from Jamaica and I am a first generation American. My sister and I are the first members of our family to attend an Ivy League college.
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or historical, who would you choose and why? I would love to speak with Nelson Mandela. His ability to maintain faith and strength after so many years in prison and then be released and eventually become the president in the same country of oppression is amazing. He ended centuries of apartheid and always had a smile on his face.
What’s the most interesting place that you’ve been? Two places: climbing glaciers in Juno, Alaska, and walking the Great Wall in China.
What are you currently reading? The Prayer of Jabez by Bruce Wilkinson.
What’s your favorite TV show? The Amazing Race.
What personal accomplishment are you most proud of? Being a mother of four and a successful physician leader.

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