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At age 12, Emily Miesse did not realize the full impact Joseph Slater would have on her life. She just knew that she was sick, and he helped to make her better.
Many years ago, Miesse’s parents took her to an Emergency Department. They did not receive a diagnosis, and after a few days, her worried parents called Slater, their own primary care provider at Shoreline Medical Associates in Madison (now Middlesex Health Primary Care—Shoreline). Slater agreed to see Miesse—and on a weekend, and she was soon rushed to Middlesex Hospital’s operating room for emergency surgery.
“My primary care made all the difference,” says Miesse, who now works as an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) for the same primary care practice that saved her life. “He took the extra time. It made me realize how important it is to care for your patients and know your patients.”
In a twist of irony, Miesse’s professional life mirrors the accomplished career of the man who once cared for her. Slater, a physician assistant and a member of the Middlesex Health medical staff for many years, was an engineer in the U.S. Navy. Miesse served as an engineer in the U.S. Air Force and a boot camp instructor, earning the rank of lieutenant.
“It was an awesome experience for me,” Miesse says of her time in the Air Force. “In a huge way, it shaped me. The military is such a unique opportunity to give back to the country while also becoming your true self and realizing your potential.”
Miesse went on to work as an engineer in the private sector and met her husband. She enjoyed her work but decided she wanted more out of her career. So, she made a call to the man who she trusted with her life: Slater.
Miesse shadowed Slater, and he encouraged her to pursue her new dream of becoming an APRN. She attended nursing school at night and continued to work as an engineer during the day, eventually earning her degree and joining Slater at Shoreline Medical Associates in 2015 as a part-time APRN—just as he was preparing for retirement. The goal: Miesse was to pick up where Slater left off, and she spent the beginning of her nursing career learning about Slater’s patients and the practice.
“How many mentors and teachers have the opportunity to pass along their practice to their students?" Slater says. "She literally took my chair.”
Even Miesse’s colleagues note the similarities between the two—both in personality and practice.
“She’s Mr. Slater—only younger and prettier,” jokes Karen Hausman, Slater’s long-time medical assistant who now works as Miesse’s medical assistant.
Today, Miesse, now a mom of three, still keeps in touch with Slater. Slater is enjoying retirement, and Miesse is focused on providing the best possible care to her patients.
Communicating with her patients is a top priority for Miesse. She takes the time to get to know her patients. She wants to know their health habits and family situations, and she educates them about chronic illnesses and destructive behavior.
“If I’m going to make a difference in their lives, they need to trust me,” Miesse says.
Medicine is not much different than engineering, Miesse reasons. It involves troubleshooting, and you have to identify processes and solutions, she says, noting that the challenges in medicine are part of the appeal.
“This is definitely the most grounded thing that I’ve done,” Miesse says. “When you go into a career like this, you establish roots. This is where I belong.”
About Middlesex Health Primary Care
Shoreline Medical Associates (now Middlesex Health Primary Care—Shoreline) was acquired by Middlesex Health earlier this year. The acquisition allowed employees of Shoreline Medical Associates to continue their outstanding personalized patient service after the retirement of Slater, who founded the practice, and Middlesex Health was able to expand its services.
In total, Middlesex Health Primary Care has 12 offices throughout Middlesex and New Haven counties and the Connecticut shoreline, including Middlesex Health Primary Care—Shoreline, which is located at 1353 Boston Post Road in Madison. All 12 offices strive to provide patient-centered, compassionate care to their patients.
Miesse and Slater are just two of several veterans affiliated with Middlesex Health. Several employees have served in the armed forces, and we thank them for their service.
Middlesex Health also provides care for veterans every day and recognizes them in special ways. For example, American flag signs are placed outside veterans’ hospital rooms, and they are also given thank you cards and American flag pins. Middlesex’s Hospice Program has taken the time to learn about veterans’ benefits and service-related diseases, illnesses and other conditions through the national Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s We Honor Veterans program.
In addition, Middlesex Health Cancer Center recently provided local veterans with lung screenings. There is a high incidence rate of lung cancer among veterans.
To our veterans, thank you. You were there for us; we will always be there for you.
While there is still much to learn about COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus, we do know it is contagious. Fortunately, there are steps that you and your loved ones can take to help limit spread of the virus.