You might think living in a small town, isolated from the hustle and bustle of big cities would be boring. However, family nurse practitioner Pamela Vecchio leads a life in rural Montana that’s far from boring! Here she tells us why entering the medical field was always a calling, and how she’s managed to pursue many personal interests outside of nursing thanks to telehealth.

When and why did you decide to enter the medical field?

When I was in high school, I worked as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home from age 16 to 20. Then I went to nursing school to become a registered nurse (RN) and then a nurse practitioner (NP). It was a calling and where I felt I needed to be.

Why did you decide to transition to virtual care?

I was ready for a change. There were a lot of things about working in a traditional clinic and under a big organization I found difficult. I see telehealth bringing a lot of progressive change to the healthcare industry. One of the reasons I love telehealth is the flexible hours. NP hours were 8am to 5pm, which I hated. I’m not a morning person, and I was always late for work. Also, some of the clinics I worked with didn’t respect NPs. That has not been the case at SteadyMD.

“Everyone here has been so kind and supportive. It’s an excellent working environment.”

Can you tell us the story of how SteadyMD helped you set up high speed internet in order to work with our partners?

It’s a funny story! I live in a very rural area of Montana where the closest town is 20 miles away. SteadyMD measured my bandwidth speed and discovered it was way too low to meet the partner requirements. SteadyMD’s co-founder, Yarone Goren, personally talked to my internet service provider for me and discovered I did have the available bandwidth, but I just needed to access it. There’s an antenna tower up on a hill across from me that I can see from my house.

SteadyMD arranged for the internet service provider to set up an antenna in my backyard that points to that tower to provide me with the high-speed bandwidth I needed. And it worked!

What benefits has virtual care provided you in your personal life?

The main benefit is getting to work from home. I live in the middle of nowhere, with 540 people 20 miles away up a winding mountain.

“I get online and I get to talk to people all over the country, because I am licensed in multiple states and be of service to them. It’s very exciting for me, it’s really fun.”

Before SteadyMD, I would drive to a small clinic in the middle of town to see patients. For those that couldn’t make it to town, I would make home visits.

You have three horses, how have they fit into your life?

My horses are a big part of my life. They’re therapeutic to me. I adopted one from a wild herd in California, another was a rescue, and the third was born on my property.

“They have taught me patience, kindness, and how to listen better to my patients. All those skills I learn with my horses I apply to medicine.”

Horses have always been in my blood. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, but I was always trying to find opportunities to ride. If you have passion for something, you learn what you need to in order to make it happen.

You’re writing your first book–what is it about?

It’s a memoir and it took me nine years to complete. It talks about the process and journey of finding home and healing. Self-publishing my own book has always been on my bucket list and now it’s finally complete. It’s called The Gift From Within and it’s available for purchase May 1st!

You’re passionate about acupuncture and recently certified. Tell us about that.

I graduated from acupuncture training in early April. It was an 18-month program where I learned 300 acupuncture points along with Chinese medicine. I then learned how to put those points together in patterns.

“I’m opening a side practice in town for the locals–I’ll be the first acupuncturist in town.”

I’m passionate about acupuncture because I know first-hand it works. There was a time I was really sick and no one could figure out what was the matter with me. I started going to acupuncture and it really helped my symptoms. Whenever I got sick, I would get acupuncture and it would help me get better, faster. I wanted to incorporate this method of treatment for my own patients.

You’re also recently certified in yoga, is this also a passion project?

Yoga is extremely popular with the locals, but there weren’t enough instructors because it’s such a small town. I was an aerobic instructor for a very long time, so physical fitness has always been very important to me. The gym owner tapped me and five others to get certified in yoga so we could teach at the gym.

You sound pretty busy living in a small town! Any other hobbies?

Yes, I love to ride dressage, especially musical free-style. This is where the horses’ paces are set to music to create a competitive “dance.” It’s actually an event in the musical free-style category of the Olympics. It’s very beautiful to watch and experience–I really enjoy it. Life is good!