Gaining skills and helping patients

Meredith Arevalo

APP Spotlight: Meredith Arevalo, Nurse Practitioner, Internal Medicine; Union Corners Clinic

Tell us about yourself.

I started two years ago at UW Health as a float advanced practice provider (APP) and transitioned to UW Health Union Corners Clinic after about a year. What I love about internal medicine is I get to see patients of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds.

I am a dog mom to two mini goldendoodles, Rosie and Violet. I love taking them on walks and to local dog parks. Prior to the pandemic, I also loved to travel often, and hope to be able to do so again soon.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and attended St. Olaf College in Minnesota. I earned my master’s degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Tell us about your family.

I’m the youngest of four kids. My mom grew up in Monona so we visited my grandparents and extended family in the Madison area often. Eating at Ella’s Deli is one of my favorite memories of coming to Madison as a child.

How did you come to UW Health?

I started my career as a nurse practitioner working in a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Maryland, where I also have family. After several years, I missed the Midwest and decided to move back to Wisconsin. While looking for a job, UW Health stood out for the quality of care it provides to patients and the generous benefits offered to employees.

What inspires you about your profession?

Internal medicine continually pushes me to learn and gain new skills to help our patients. Sometimes this means learning about unusual conditions in the process of evaluating a patient’s symptoms and concerns. It also involves identifying the best type of care for each patient, whether that be in a primary care setting or with a specialist.

Tell us about the Suboxone/Opioid clinic work you are doing and your hopes and goals for the program.

I’ve been working with my internal medicine and family medicine colleagues on a quality improvement project to start providing medication for opioid use disorder within our primary care clinic. My hope with this project is to improve our patients’ access to medication for this chronic condition, which has been shown to reduce hospitalization and death from overdose. I also hope this helps to streamline their care, as specialty referrals may involve long wait times or the need to find transportation.

We will start by working with patients currently seen outside specialty providers for buprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone) medication as part of managing their opioid use disorder. We will discuss with the patient and their current providers whether they may be a good fit to have their medication managed within primary care instead. As our clinic and providers gain more experience working with this medication, we may later expand our services to help patients struggling with opioid use disorder start buprenorphine-naloxone as well.

Do you have a memorable experience in your career that has stayed with you?

Prior to working in internal medicine, I practiced family medicine for several years. One moment that was particularly meaningful to me was when I identified symptoms of preeclampsia in the mother of a newborn patient I was seeing in the clinic. I got the mother in for a visit and then helped coordinate her transport to the hospital for further evaluation, where she was admitted.

What have your patients taught you about yourself?

Working with my patients helps remind me of the importance of vulnerability. We ask this of our patients—to be vulnerable and share with us their lifestyle choices that can impact their health—to help us provide them with the best care possible.

In a few words, how would you describe your coworkers and team at UW Health?

I feel lucky to work with a team that is dedicated to our patients and always willing to help each other. In particular, our nurse triage team works tirelessly to help make sure our patients have access to care.

Outside of work, what did you accomplish this year that makes you proud?

I got engaged! My fiancé, Zeb, and I will be getting married next summer.