Stefanie Fadel, Chief PA at Quality First Urgent Care is known as somewhat of a local hero due to her extensive medical experience, generous volunteer work, and success as a marathon champion all while fulfilling her role as devoted wife and mother of three.
We sat down with her to ask her how she balances all the different aspects of her life and what being a part of the Brooklyn community means to her.
You received your education from the College of Staten Island and graduated with honors at the top of your class, what drew you to pursue a career in medicine?
It all began 21 years ago, when my nephew was born with Spina Bifida, a neurological disorder where the spinal cord is not fully formed. He was in the PICU for a long time, and the doctors told us that he would never be able to walk.
During that experience, I decided that I wanted to help people and families who are going through similar situations. I started PA school with two babies at home and haven’t looked back.
I love emergency medicine because I find it fulfilling to provide immediate care that results in rapid outcomes. It is a situation where you can assist people during their most vulnerable times and have the opportunity to really make a difference.
Wow, you have experienced a real crisis as a patient’s family member. Has this affected the way you care for patients and families?
Absolutely. I know what it is like to be on the patient side of healthcare and I treat every patient as if they were my own family member. I always say “If you were my mother” or “If you were my sister” when discussing possible treatments with patients, and it creates a trusting relationship.
I remember being in the hospital and being confused and flustered by all the medical procedures and terms that I didn’t understand. Now, as a health care provider, I always explain things in terms that the patient can understand so they can feel more control over their situation.
With all the changing needs of the community, what made you decide to stay in Brooklyn and how do you balance work-life with family?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, so the area holds many rich memories for me and this is where I want to raise my family. My daughter Nicole and I attended the same high school, Fontbonne Hall Academy. Now she is a sophomore in college on an academic scholarship. She was selected to be a member of the National Honors Society of Leadership and Success based on her impressive academic record, she is majoring in criminal justice and has her eye on law school.
My son Steven just accepted an offer to play Division III soccer at the College of Mount St. Vincent. My youngest, Sam, attends St. Ephrem school, my alma matter and she currently plays club volleyball for New York Blast. With three children in three different schools, I’m pulled in many directions but I still try to find the time to run the holiday shop for St. Ephrem School. My newest project will be a collaboration with Bishop Kearney High School to mentor students desiring a future in healthcare.
I am able to manage all this with the help of my strong network of friends and community and I’m grateful to have a flexible work environment and empathetic medical director. However, the most important thing has been that I have a strong family unit at home.
After graduating from the College of Staten Island, I was recruited by Lutheran Medical Center where I worked for many years developing their Fast-Track Program and served as their Chief PA of the emergency room, managing about 30 mid-level practitioners.
I went on to work in the emergency room of Staten Island University Hospital to broaden my scope of emergency medical care before joining the staff as Chief PA at Quality First Urgent Care. With my experience, I am able to identify patients that require a higher level of care and provide that care, preventing the patient from a lengthy and costly emergency room visit. There are
There are patients that come in with what they perceive as non-life threatening symptoms and after evaluation by our staff, we can identify real life threatening situations. We have diagnosed patients with heart attacks, appendicitis, urosepsis, pyelonephritis and more. In these cases, when patients require immediate emergency department intervention we have them immediately transported via ambulance.
You are known for providing holistic care to patients and utilizing a more organic approach to medicine. How does this affect your practice?
I spend more time with patients discussing alternative treatments and the importance of using antibiotics appropriately.
For example, during this cough and cold season I have a remedy I recommend to all my patients to help sooth their coughs and sore throats. Instead of taking over-the-counter medications that multiple ingredients and side effects, they can drink a cocktail of honey, lemon, ginger with hot water.
Education of patients is important because when people understand how their body works they are able to take better care of themselves.