Nearly 16 years ago, when nurse practitioner (NP) Paula Jasionowski joined what would become Advocare The Women’s Group for OB/GYN, she was drawn to the concept of an all-female team administering women’s medical care.
“It’s specifically a women-run team of clinicians, which was important to me” she says. “I’ve worked with male physicians in the past and they’re excellent, but if you’ve never had painful cramps or delivered a baby yourself, you don’t know what that’s like. I love the idea of women taking care of women.”
Having spent half of her career at Advocare, she still believes no one understands women’s health concerns like female clinicians and NPs do.
“One of the reasons I became a nurse practitioner for women was that I don’t think we get an equal deal when it comes to medical care,” Jasionowski says. “When I started, if you went to the doctor with a complaint, it was always ‘Oh, it’s your hormones, it’s your nerves, it’s your lifestyle.’ I think, as women, we can appreciate what other women are going through, and some of us have been there ourselves.”
Advocare’s women's group is South Jersey's first and oldest all-female practice for women's health, and employs one board-certified physician, an NP and five midwives/NPs, all of whom share a deep commitment to personalized patient care and education. The team handles all manner of obstetrical and gynecological needs, and remains among the region’s few all-women providers of such services.
Jennifer Travis, one of the midwives, joined Advocare’s Women’s Group in 2018, and previously worked with the team when she was a labor and delivery nurse at an area hospital. Before her job change, she went back to school first to become both an NP and a midwife.
“We have the strongest midwifery presence in the labor and delivery unit,” she explains. “I think patients like to have the camaraderie of someone who’s in the room with them a lot, helping them through the process and reassuring them constantly. We have a very low C-section rate because we do all the laboring of our patients: We’re very patient with them, we allow them to get into labor and we get them ready for the home stretch of some very long labors. But we are present for patients’ C-sections, or who had prior C-sections.”
She, too, believes that “women understand women best.”
“I’ve been an advocate for women for a long time, and I believe that sometimes women aren’t taken seriously in health care when they go to their providers with complaints,” Travis says. “When a woman tells me something’s not right, I believe her.”
Being staffed by a team that is genuinely interested in providing high-quality service means satisfied patients, and both Travis and Jasionowski agree that their practice’s high ratings, patient retention rates, and enthusiastic referrals to family and friends speak volumes about the care their team provides.
“When they come in, they experience the family environment we have with our patients,” says Travis.
“A lot of our patients came to us specifically because we’re NPs and all women,” Jasionowski adds. “There are certain ethnicity groups that will not allow a male clinician to see them, but a lot of our patients come to us because they’ve been to other groups and they want a female team taking care of them.”
Having several NPs on staff also means that the team can continue to treat not just symptoms but the entire patient.
“A nurse practitioner looks at the whole person,” says Jasionowski. “It’s not just the physical: It’s the mental and the emotional. Nurse practitioners have always been like that, but not everybody has the time to be that thorough. You might have a 15-minute slot to see a patient, but then you find out their father just died or they’re not sleeping at night or they’re having hot flashes, and you have to address that. It’s never just ‘We’ll do a breast exam and a pap smear and then you’ll be on your way.’”
Both NPs are proud to be part of medical group that patients keep coming back to and praising—oftentimes, for generations.
“People like that the NPs are generally present in the office and more readily available,” Travis notes. “With the nurse practitioners, midwives and doctor we have here, the camaraderie among the staff makes patients feel like they belong here and are cared about.”
“You lose patients not because of your clinician but because of how they’re treated, and we want our patients to feel welcome from the second they walk in,” adds Jasionowski. “Our doctor has delivered some of our patients, their children and their grandchildren. So in addition to how they feel when they come in, they have that continuity of care.”
And the group is always happy to extend that warm welcome to new patients.
“If you don’t know us, come and meet us,” says Jasionowski. “We’re more than a medical practice.”
Advocare The Women’s Group for OG/GYN
2301 Evesham Road, Building 800, Suite 122, Voorhees