"I am excited about finally coming home to Greenbrier to help my own community," said Dr. Jessica Tackett. She is a young intern finishing her final year of residency at Sparks Hospital Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith. She grew up in Greenbrier, attended kindergarten through twelfth grades at Greenbrier High School and her family still resides here. Her dream has always been to practice in Greenbrier; but she never imagined things would fall into place so well. She will begin practice with Drs. Charles Clifton and Gary Bowman at the Greenbrier Family Clinic when the new Baptist Medical and Rehabilitation Center opens in 2015. Jessica Tackett D.O. will finally be home.
From the time she can remember, she has always wanted to be a doctor. Dr. Bowman was her physician as a child and she wanted to be like him. "I saw Doctors on television and wanted to make people better," she said. Her mom and dad always told her she could do anything she wanted to do. "Just do it!" Although the struggle has been really hard at times, she persevered. She married her high school sweetheart from tenth grade, Dustin, and says he has also been extremely supportive of her chosen career.
She did plenty of volunteer work in high school and college while earning her B.S. from University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, with a minor in Spanish. Her Doctor of Osteopathy degree is from Kansas City University in Medical and Biosciences in 2012. She shadowed Drs. Bowman and Clifton and a doctor in Conway and volunteered as a Nurse’s Aide at Baptist rehab center as an undergraduate. Her career choice was cemented when she helped a senior patient at the rehab center begin to talk and walk after a serious stroke. Tackett said, "Her spirit and attitude was contagious as I helped her and one of the most rewarding experiences of my life."
Her present typical day consists of rising well before daylight to see her own patients in clinic, children and adults. She loves watching patients improve and get better. The internship consists of cardiology, ER care, pediatrics and delivering babies, critical care, pulmonology, anesthesia, surgery, orthopedics, ear-nose-throat, urology, dermatology and internal medicine.
The sacrifices that one makes to become a Doctor are many. It is a very long time from high school graduation to becoming a practicing physician. The hours in residency are 80 hours per week. Eight years of school and three more of residency total eleven long years before you are on your own. The money has come through scholarships and student loans and much tightening of belts by her and her husband. They rarely see each other except at night — especially when she is on rotation. "I married a good man," she says. "He works in Fayetteville as a Civil Engineer and is still driving the Chevy truck he had before we started dating in high school. It has over 200,000 miles on it," says Tackett. The rest of her family consists of two yellow Labrador retrievers and a toy Poodle.
Board exams are given in three steps and her third exam will be taken next month. Finally, the Family Practice Board exam is given in April, 2015 in Fort Smith. "I’ll be happy to return to Greenbrier to help people heal in our community. I want to be someone they can trust and make them proud when they see me in the community. I’ll be ready to start a family and raise my kids here. Oh, and get my husband a new Chevy truck!"