While conducting investigations, detectives look for clues, follow leads and work to determine the cause of a crime incident while also identifying likely culprits.
As an urgent care physician with BayCare Clinic, Dr. Mary Rupp has a similar role. She must follow clues in her search for the source of a patient’s health ailment, determine the condition and provide a diagnosis and treatment plan for the likely culprit behind the pending health mystery.
“I really like getting into the mystery part of it, solving the mystery and having the answer to the problem that day,” Rupp says. “I like the faster pace and thinking on my toes for problem-solving.”
A Kenosha, Wisconsin, native, Rupp says she discovered her passion for emergency medicine in the midst of her internal medicine residency at the University of North Carolina.
“I rotated through the ER while I was an intern and I really enjoyed it,” she says. “I was able to pick up a lot of charts at one time and I saw a lot of interesting things.”
Emergency medicine and urgent care wasn’t part of Rupp’s initial career plan.
“When I went into internal medicine, I thought I’d either be an intensivist or gastroenterologist,” she says.
A mentor, Dr. Cherri D. Hobgood, inspired Rupp to pursue emergency medicine. Hobgood was associate dean for curriculum and educational development and vice chair of emergency medicine at the UNC School of Medicine.
“I really looked up to her and could relate to her,” Rupp says. “The way she managed the department and still was personable and efficient … She had a good way with the patients, but yet, she got the job done,” she says. “And she also had a family. So, for me, she modeled balancing family life with a profession in medicine.”
Pursuing a career in emergency medicine and urgent care held more benefits than Rupp imagined. That’s because she met her husband during her first rotation as an internal medicine resident.
After completing her emergency medicine residency, Rupp lived and worked in St. Louis, Missouri, while her husband completed a fellowship. Then, they both took jobs in North Carolina. Almost a decade later, the duo returned to Wisconsin to be closer to family.
Rupp sees patients in Green Bay. She enjoys performing procedures and relishes the critical thinking that goes into determining a diagnosis and creating a treatment plan for patients’ medical woes.
“It’s a really good feeling to get to do a procedure, do it well and to make it as painless as possible,” Rupp says. “It’s just a really gratifying feeling.”
As an urgent care provider, Rupp takes pride in knowing that patients can depend on her during worrisome health situations.
“I like feeling as though I’m an extension of their primary care provider when they can’t be seen right away,” she says. “We can be someone they can rely on to provide continuity of sorts in the urgent care.”
Rupp offers this advice for her current and future patients: “No problem is too small. We are here to give you reassurance. If you’re well, we can reassure you that you’re well. But if you do have a problem, we will work with you to find the answer. Don’t hesitate to come in to get reassurance or to have yourself checked over.”
When Rupp isn’t solving health care mysteries for patients, expect to find her playing tennis, working on her golf game, bicycling or cross-country skiing during Wisconsin’s winters.