Marlo Michelson: Growing into her leadership role in primary care

When Marlo Michelson was a young girl, her mom gave her the bottom drawer of her filing cabinet so she could have space to keep patient files for her imaginary doctor’s office.

“My mom has a graduation book that marks each year and when you look back at my dream occupation, it was always a teacher or a nurse,” said Marlo Michelson, RN, Arnprior and District Family Health Team (ADFHT).

Nursing career

After Marlo graduated from university, she worked as a RN in mostly obstetrics and general care at the Pontiac Hospital (her hometown hospital). She later spent five years in hemodialysis at Renfrew Victoria Hospital before making the move to primary care in 2016.

Marlo Mcihelson, RN, Arnprior and District Family Health Team, and participant in ARH’s Emerging Leaders Program.

“The team culture at ADFHT is pretty amazing,” reflected Marlo. “When I started here, I had really only worked super closely with groups of nurses. It was great to come into a role where you’re immersed with a huge variety of health professionals including respiratory therapists, psychologists, mental health workers, dietitians, pharmacists, and physicians. It’s been really helpful to get to pull on each other and share expertise.”

Marlo has worked collaboratively to help establish key programs at ADFHT including Cardiac Rehab, Health Links, Breastfeeding Education, and the Memory Clinic.

“I love the focus on disease prevention and the opportunity to provide care to a variety of ages.”

COVID-19 experience

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marlo’s role has shifted away from episodic care to a more administrative focus as the clinical lead for the Arnprior community vaccine clinics that began in March 2021.

“We’ve vaccinated over 20,000 people (and counting) in Arnprior alone with just our small team –we have a lot to be proud of.”

Marlo also notes how instrumental the Regional Integrated Care Program (formerly called Health Links) has been during the pandemic to ensure the community’s health needs are met. The approach has paramedics visit patients in their homes and connect with ADFHT and other partners to coordinate the best care possible.

Leadership growth

For as long as Marlo can remember, she has gravitated towards leadership roles. In high school, Marlo was heavily involved in student government, coached sport teams, and she received the leadership award in her graduating year. So, when it was time to take on the clinical lead role for the vaccine clinics, Marlo found it was an easy fit.

“Leadership is something I see myself doing in some capacity as I progress through my career,” shared Marlo. “I was very happy to be nominated and accepted into ARH’s Emerging Leaders Program.”

Marlo is using the Emerging Leaders Program as an opportunity to build several leadership skills including delegation and strengthening her leadership role when working with co-workers.

Putting down roots in Arnprior

Marlo grew up in Norway Bay in Pontiac where she met her husband who has a family cottage down the way from her parent’s house. In 2015, Marlo and her husband relocated to Arnprior where they are now building a new family home to raise their 2.5-year-old daughter, Raya, and baby boy who will arrive in the spring.