Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Joins Northern Pediatrics
There’s not much in the way of boo-boos, sniffles, and childhood diseases or disorders that Erica Joyce Wilson, DNP, hasn’t seen and successfully treated. The 41-year-old Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, who holds both a master’s degree and doctorate in nursing practice, is the newest clinical specialist to join Northern Pediatrics, in Mount Airy. The busy practice site, part of Northern Hospital of Surry County, sees about 27,000 pediatric patients each year.
Erica says that she has always wanted to treat children – from the time she first entered nursing school … all through her prior professional experience in a major children’s hospital … and, now, as the primary pediatric clinician at Northern Family Medicine. In fact, she sometimes wonders if her affinity for taking care of children is somehow embedded, subconsciously, in her own personal experience as a premature infant who required heart surgery. “I was what is called a ’32-weeker,’” she says of her earliest days, “and I only know that, for my entire life, I’ve been drawn to becoming a pediatric provider — someone who will serve as a strong advocate for children’s health.”
Her dedicated concern, commitment and advocacy for children’s healthcare was firmly established and strengthened during 18 years spent in the pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Brenner Children’s Hospital at Wake Forest – where her clinical expertise and effective leadership style led to her rapid and eventual promotion to Charge Nurse. “We worked as a strong team,” recalls Wilson, of her years directing the nursing care and comfort dispensed continuously in that ICU. “As part of our caregiving efforts, we worked to assure parents that their babies, whether big or small, were our babies for the duration of the time they remained in the unit. Our greatest joy was to be able to give children back to their mothers.”
Working out of her new office at Northern Peds, Erica’s patients – who range in age from newborns to teenagers – typically arrive with multiple symptoms of a clinical nature or with no symptoms at all when their presence is part of a scheduled “Well Child” visit. For those under the weather, Wilson’s decades of prior pediatric experience permit her to accurately diagnose and deal effectively with the symptoms and/or injuries that an examination will unveil. She is an unflagging advocate for the administration of childhood vaccinations, having witnessed both the short- and long-term clinical and societal problems that can result from the absence of providing life-saving vaccines and regularly-scheduled boosters.
As her patients grow, Wilson is able to recognize changes in their physical and emotional growth and offer appropriate guidance and advice, as needed. “As their primary physician, I can be an additional positive influence in my patients’ lives by giving them sound advice on a variety of health topics – like making healthy diet choices and consistently using seat belts,” she explains. “I look forward to being able to follow the progress of my patients as they grow and develop into strong young adults with promising futures.”
Erica’s hands-on coaching and counseling extends to parents, as well. “Education is a huge component of all patient visits – and that education extends to my patients as well as their parents,” she says. “I believe in being a partner with parents and children to achieve the best clinical outcomes. For both audiences, I want them to know what to expect; and I offer advice and practical tips on how to help manage conditions at home.”
A mother of two daughters, Erica Wilson’s future aspirations include “being a part of the growth of children in our community” by joining with local educators to develop programs that encourage young people to read and learn, while also practicing healthy behaviors. “As a mother, I know it takes everyone, working together, to raise our children well; and I want to be an active part of community-wide efforts to help ensure the health and well-being of all our children,” she says.
After graduating from the School of Nursing at Forsyth Tech in 2001, Wilson joined the healthcare team within the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit of Brenner Children’s Hospital at Wake Forest Baptist Health. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing in 2013 from Western Carolina University, she continued to work at the Children’s Hospital while expanding her clinical experience at both Cone Memorial Hospital and Novant Health. This past spring, Wilson graduated from the intensive three-year, dual-degree Master’s/Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the Medical University of South Carolina. The newly-certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner was then recruited to join Northern.
“I am excited to be part of the larger Northern Hospital family, and also partner with Drs. Daniels, Minor, Saliba, and Youell, and Cashe Emory, NP as part of the care team of Northern Pediatrics,” said Wilson.
As she enters her new role, Erica says that she is thankful for the constant love and support of her parents, Sandra and Mickey Joyce; daughters Carley (18) and Emma (11); long-time partner Ben Schmidt, MD, an Emergency Department physician; and the family’s four-footed “fur babies” – pooches Hunter and Lucy. “We love to be outdoors and in the vegetable garden,” she says. As for transforming those homegrown veggies into a satisfying meal or side-dish, she admits that, while she doesn’t cook, she does contribute. “I’m the dishwasher!” she laughs.
To schedule an appointment for your child with Erica Wilson, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, call 336-789-6267. Erica sees patients from infants to age 18 and the practice accepts most insurance, including NC and VA Medicaid. Northern Pediatrics is located at 100 North Pointe Boulevard, in Mount Airy.