By Jordan Huether
Gordon Memorial Health Services is welcoming their newest provider, Megan O’Neil, DNP, FNP-C, to the community with a meet and greet next Wednesday, January 15, from noon to 1 p.m., in the Hutchins Room of the hospital.
O’Neil came to Gordon in November after having lived in Cody, Wyo., for five years. She and her husband, Case, were looking for a family practice clinic in a rural area that would allow them to raise their daughter in a tight-knit community. Megan attended school with the hospital’s other recently-hired DNP, Kaleigh Krebs, and Krebs mentioned the opening to her.
O’Neil earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature in 2009, with plans of being a high school English teacher. While in school, her mother was diagnosed with colon cancer and she saw how the nurses and providers helped to make the experience better. She quickly decided to return to school for her nursing degree.
She graduated with her BSN from Andrews University in Southwestern Michigan in 2013. After several years of working as a nurse, she went back to school and earned her Doctorate of Nursing Practice, specializing as a Family Practice Nurse Practitioner, from Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in 2019.
She began her nursing career as a staff nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, on the Stem Cell Transplant and Hematology Oncology floor. After moving to Cody, Wyoming, in 2014, she made the change to work in rural, outpatient oncology and infusion, where she worked until 2019 when she graduated from NP school.
Megan has a strong passion for working in rural health care, as well as oncology, and her Doctoral Scholarly Project was a reflection of this. Titled, “Use of the Distress Thermometer in Rural Outpatient Oncology,” Megan implemented a distress screening tool in a rural oncology clinic.
“My background is strongly in oncology,” said O’Neil. “Before I became a Nurse Practitioner, I was an Oncology Nurse and I worked both inpatient and outpatient. I have a very strong passion for cancer care and taking care of cancer patients. I would like to at least in some capacity provide care for those patients, so they don’t have to travel so much in the future.”
O’Neil has been enjoying her first few months on the job, getting to know the patients and staff. “I think that when you live in a small town, you really get to know your patients. You’re not just a number. You really have a connection with the people that you’re seeing. It’s been really cool to be able to become a part of the community and get to know the people of this area.”
In her free time, Megan enjoys spending time with her husband, Case, and her daughter, Caroline. They enjoy hiking, road trips and scenic drives. She also spends much of her time while away from the clinic working as the Director of Clinical Education and as an adjunct faculty member of Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions for doctoral nursing students.