Dr. Veronica Swannigan

20150202_Dr. Veronica Swannigan low res
Dr. Veronica Swannigan, physician at the Church Health Center

Who I am…

My name is Veronica Swannigan. I’m one of the staff physicians at the Church Health Center.

What I do at the Church Health Center…

My responsibilities include, well, there’s one big basic: taking care of patients. I also provide medical education for medical students in their first year and second year of medical school that go to UT. And also we have some rotating DO students, third year medical students, that we precept and mentor.

What led me here…

I guess as a young child I always wanted to be in a field in order to help people. My initial thing was to be a nurse. I enjoyed the sciences as a young child, so it was a combination of being able to help someone in that capacity, combining science and health care that led me to this field.

How faith plays a role in my work…

Faith plays a huge role in my life. When I think about faith, I really think of more of a spiritual walk. I don’t really believe my knowledge or the power to heal comes from me, it comes from my faith in God and asking him for strength and knowledge and wisdom to treat people.

Also by nature I’m not a very kind, giving person, and so my faith and relying on God to help me to come out of my character allows me to provide the care that I need. People always tell me that I’m very compassionate, but that’s not my true nature.

I define healthcare as…

It’s a very multi-faceted thing—it’s not just giving people medicine. It’s trying to heal by not just healing the body, but trying to heal the mind, body and spirit.

One of Memphis’ greatest healthcare challenges is…

I think we have the abundance of specialties and clinics, but unfortunately we have a lot of people who are uninsured and cannot go to get care.

So I think it’s about getting the knowledge out there that if you are uninsured, that there are places you can go that are based on your sliding scale.

But what Memphis healthcare is doing right is…

Church Health Center! Providing, you know, affordable care for people.

The biggest challenge in my healthcare work is…

One of the biggest challenges that I face, that frustrates me, is patients not taking responsibility for their own health. I’m there as a partner. But a lot of time there’s some decisions as a patient that they need to make.

Sometimes what’s frustrating to me is that sometimes I’m expected to have a magic wand that I don’t have. If I did, I would use it.

The greatest reward in my healthcare work is…

I think seeing people really take responsibility for their health has been the most rewarding thing.

Also, I was telling my husband this the other day, I didn’t realize how much of a connection I make with people. I recently had to diagnose someone with a pretty serious illness and it was just so important that I stay in contact with her because she wouldn’t be coming here anymore for treatments.

It just dawned on me that in just in those 20 minutes, the connection and power that I had through the Lord, because it’s not through me, that connection that you make with people in that brief period of time, and that it was important to her, even though she wasn’t going to be coming to me, that we still had that connection. It’s really rewarding because I didn’t realize I made strong a connection with people in that brief amount of time.

Learn more about the Church Health Center

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