“I like the thought of doing something I haven’t done before,” Nurse Practitioner Tammy Tran said. “The community health setting is where I feel comfortable and have experience but I’m excited to venture into something new and expand my scope of practice at Top DOC Clinics. The Anti-aging and Regenerative arena of medicine is an area I have interest in gaining more experience in.”
Tran is a Nurse Practitioner in the Los Angeles area. Her love of nursing developed from helping her ailing father while he battled the complications of diabetes. She would visit him in the nursing home while she was in college and take part in his care. After caring for her father who ultimately passed away from complications of diabetes and stroke, she determined that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of those suffering from ailments as her father. She felt she could make an impact in the lives of others and help them prevent deterioration of their health through adequate treatment of their disease process, preventive care and education.
“I’ve been in nursing for the last 20 years, and I’ve worked in quite a few arenas of the profession,” she shared. “After getting my registered nursing license, I worked in a post-surgical unit. It was exciting and fast-paced and a great way for me to get hands-on experience as a new nurse. But I wanted more experience, so I entered the hospital setting and I worked on the telemetry floor which helped me to gain more acute care experience.”
Tran ultimately wanted to be in an outpatient setting, so she earned her master’s degree and started working in the CVS clinics as a nurse practitioner.
“Retail health in California was new at the time and we were one of the first ones to be hired. It took some effort to get patients in the store to begin using some of the services we offered. Ultimately, the convenience of retail health took off and patients began lining up for some of their basic healthcare needs,” she said. “The pandemic has likely helped the retail setting since services like COVID testing, Flu testing and vaccinations are a big part of what they offer. It’s a nice place for patients to access services quickly.”
This became the start of Tran’s career as a Nurse Practitioner.
What Is a Nurse Practitioner?
Compared to Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners are nurses with additional training and expanded responsibilities. They manage patient health, treat illnesses and injuries, conduct research and mentor other nurses. They can provide both primary care and specialized services, including diagnoses, treatment, prescriptions and patient education.
Many patients choose Nurse Practitioners for primary care, as they often fill the gap between medical needs and the availability of physicians in some areas. This approach also lowers medical bills.
From Retail to Community Health
As a person who thrives on learning new things, retail health started feeling limited to Tran.
“They had guidelines for us to follow that were very specific about what we could do and what types of conditions we could see. Of course, they’ve expanded those services since then, but back in those days, it was what it was,” she shared.
At that point, she applied to her current job as a Nurse Practitioner in community health.
“I see primarily adult patients managing chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension and other conditions in primary care. Community health caters to a low-income, disadvantaged population,” she said.
As a result, Tran has gained a good amount of experience with patients working with patients who lack access to healthcare.
“Most patients were enrolled in My Health LA for our clinic. They receive some services and medications without charge. That’s how community health works,” she explained.
However, that may be changing as sliding scale pay based on income is now being considered. In addition, disadvantaged patients 50 years of age and older are moving into Medi-Cal-based programs to give them more access to care.
“Earlier this year, we started transitioning some of our patients from My Health LA to Medi-Cal,” she shared. “We want to ensure we can retain these patients so that they can access primary care and specialists. Some health insurance companies have to bid for these Medi-Cal contracts in California. We’ll see how it plays out, especially for disadvantaged communities.”
Joining Top Doc Clinics
Tran is now bringing her Nurse Practitioner curiosity and expertise to Top Doc Clinics, a diverse collection of medical practices helmed by innovative leaders representing a variety of specialties — urgent and family care, regenerative and cosmetic medicine and more. Top Doc Clinics strives to detoxify the body and expedite recovery.
“Top Doc’s management has a vision for what they want to accomplish. I’m on board with learning any services we may add but maintain that I will likely stay the course as primary care provider for the adult population at Top Doc Clinics in Redondo Beach,” she said.
Tran is excited to see new services becoming available to her community.
“It’s nice that it’s nearby. Being in the community makes it easier to interface with patients and form connections with them as well,” she explained.
What the Future Holds
Tran talked about an exciting aspect of her career.
She has been a nurse for 20 years. In her earlier years, she always worked with the physicians and had standardized protocols to follow that were drafted with the physician. Although standardized protocols will likely remain in some settings, nurses will have more autonomy in California with recent legislative changes.
“Not everybody has shared the opinion that nurse practitioners should be autonomous but the coalition of nurses and nurse practitioners in California is very strong and broad,” she concluded.
In either case, Nurse Practitioners like Tammy Tran have much to look forward to. And working with Top Doc Clinics, she will have much more to offer the patients in her community.