Nurse practitioner and Medcare owner JoAnn Kargul has a long and somewhat varied resume behind her.
Of course, there's years of experience in nursing - including heading up a 52-bed floor in a New Jersey hospital at the age of 21, working in some very busy emergency rooms and running her own successful medical practice for seven years in New Mexico - and a bachelor's and master's to go with it. But mixed between, there's also a position running a gymnastics school (she earned national gymnastics judge status), a few stints in medical sales, a part-time career as a real estate agent and a few years as an assistant district attorney in Queens, N.Y. Incidentally, her foray into law was a bit of a joke - she applied to law school on a whim, and was admitted into a competitive program. So, she went through with it.
"No matter where I went I used my medical background," Kargul said. "I've done (nursing) since 1975 ... it's been my pas
Kargul loves the one-on-one time with patients, and "helping them to be all that they can be with a mind-body-soul approach."
For Kargul, being a nurse is a way to connect with people on all of those levels. She focuses on a return to health, she said, rather than just treating the symptoms of a sickness.
It was that attitude that helped her build up her patient base at her previous practice in New Mexico to more than 5,000 patients.
"I never have 10-minute appointments, so I spend the time getting to know my patients," Kargul said. "You pick up so much more. Sometimes it takes awhile for you to form that comfort level so they can tell you what the problem is."
Kargul said she also sees patients same-day, something she believes is important "because you can stop an illness when it's minor by preventing it from becoming major." At the New Mexico practice, she was known to take patients on Christmas, Thanksgiving and weekends.
Though she's not practicing law anymore, Kargul is able to use her background in her everyday practice - she's able to act as an advocate for patients with insurance companies or getting in to see specialists.
Kargul sees herself at her new practice, which has been open in Breckenridge since late April, for a long time. She currently only has one exam room - "which is all I need, because I only see one patient at a time," she said - but plans to expand that as she grows, as well as bring in other practitioners. For Kargul, she's found a longtime home in Summit County.
"I love being here," Kargul said.