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New surgical podiatrist getting off on the right foot

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May 10, 2018

The doctor who is getting people back on their feet is already well known for having a smile on his face.

Surgical podiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Olson is one of the newest medical providers in our community, and Newton Clinic administrator Mark Thayer describes him as “one of the happiest guys.”

“He’s legitimately happy every time I see him,” Mark said. “He’s just excited to wake up every day. Doctors have good days and bad days, but I’ve never seen him have a bad day. The staff really enjoys that, and the patients appreciate his bedside manner, which is simply amazing.”

Dr. Olson joined the clinic in August 2017. He was not identified through physician recruitment, as is fairly standard, but instead sought out the clinic himself.

“My wife is originally from Ankeny, so we knew we were interested in moving somewhere in central Iowa after I finished residency,” Dr. Olson said. “I started researching potential workplaces within a reasonable distance, and I was immediately intrigued when I learned about Newton Clinic. I felt there was a big need in Newton and Jasper County that I could fill.”

He didn’t set up a meeting or even call in advance; rather, he simply stopped by the clinic to hand over his resume, asking that it be delivered to the clinic administrator, and then went on his way.

“I hadn’t even hit city limits before Mark called and said they would be very interested in learning more about me,” Dr. Olson said. “It all took off from there.”

Given the foot-based nature of his training, it is only appropriate to say that Dr. Olson “hit the ground running” when he arrived last summer.

“I’ve been extremely busy,” he said. “I do surgical cases at Skiff Medical Center on Tuesdays, and then I see patients in clinic the other weekdays. I’m typically able to see patients same-day for urgent issues, and I’ve made sure I’m available for traumas. I haven’t missed a single ER call yet, and I’ve come in for everything from putting a cast on a broken ankle to doing wound care for an individual with diabetes. That’s the benefit of living here in town, helping to make sure I’m accessible to my patients.”

Jenna Seals, Manager of Surgical Services and Clinics at Skiff, agreed that Dr. Olson living locally has been beneficial across the board. “He has quickly made Newton his home and gotten involved in the community.”

As a man of faith, as well as a dedicated athlete, some of the first roots Dr. Olson and his family put down were at church and at the Newton YMCA. “Becoming part of the community has been great,” he said. “I love seeing patients out and about, and being able to witness firsthand how much better they’re feeling. You lose that connection if you’re in a big city. I think that’s one of the reasons I fit well with the other doctors at Newton Clinic. They are great people who care about their patients and prioritize continuity of care. They chose to be in a smaller town, just like I did.”

He can speak from experience about big-city life, having grown up just outside of the Seattle area. His first taste of Iowa came when he attended Des Moines University for podiatric medical school.

“I fell in love with Iowa immediately,” he said. “The people are nice, genuine and kind. The overall feeling is one of family. Coming to Iowa felt like home.”

Residency took Dr. Olson out of Iowa for a while, when he moved to Michigan for three additional years of training in podiatric medicine and surgery, allowing him to become an expert in all things related to the foot and ankle. His offerings range from those in the clinic, such as plantar fasciitis injections, wart removal and ingrown toenail treatments, to those in the operating room, including fractures of the foot and ankle, bunions and even amputations.

With the icy weather Newton experienced this past winter, Dr. Olson found himself treating and operating on a number of ankle fractures that had resulted from slips and falls. Not only is it a procedure that previously had to be sent to Des Moines, but it is one he is particularly passionate about.

“Putting something back together is rewarding,” he said. “It’s a combination of puzzle-solving and carpentry. I like figuring out the answers to help my patients get rid of pain and regain their mobility.”

“Dr. Olson knows that your feet and ankles affect each thing you do throughout the day,” Jenna said. “He is quick to respond to needs, while also taking the time to get to know each patient, educate them on their health care, and develop a plan to get them back to doing whatever it is they love.”

Eileen Maple, a local speech/language pathologist, said Dr. Olson has already become an important part of her family’s health-care support system. “My husband, son, sister and I have all been to see Dr. Olson, and we’ve all had great experiences. I have been impressed with him since my initial consultation last fall, and during every appointment since. He is very friendly and personable and truly cares about his patients. He takes the time to explain, answer questions, and offer options and suggestions that best benefit the patient. He will be performing my foot surgery this summer, and I am so thrilled to be able to get it done right here in Newton. This town is lucky to have him!”

Laurie Conner, Skiff President, said she is excited to see Dr. Olson’s specialty being well-utilized within the hospital’s robust surgical department, joining other strongly established services, such as general surgery and orthopedic surgery. “We are absolutely thrilled to have Dr. Olson on the medical staff,” she said. “He is a great resource for patients and physicians alike, with tremendous expertise and a warm, kind personality.”

The leaders at Skiff have learned that generosity is another of Dr. Olson’s positive traits. When the Skiff Foundation was raising money to purchase new ultrasound machines, Dr. Olson and his wife Rachael were among a few physician families who made a donation. The decision was something of a personal one.

“Right around the time we moved to Newton, we found out we were expecting our second child,” he said. “Since we opted to get our obstetrics care locally, we’ve definitely utilized the radiology and ultrasound services at Skiff. That underlined the importance of having excellent technology, so we wanted to do our part in helping make that possible.”

Jane Hettinger, Radiology Manager, said she appreciates Dr. Olson as a donor, but even more as a dedicated health-care provider. “He is very conscientious and always takes the time to stop by our department in person to review his patients’ scan results. He’s a really nice guy … always happy!”

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Skiff Medical Center
204 N. 4th Ave E.
Newton, Iowa 50208
Phone: (641) 792-1273
Toll-free: (888) 792-1273

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Skiff Medical Center, a member of Mercy Health Network, is located in Newton, Iowa. We provide services to Jasper County residents in all major health areas, including general surgery, orthopedic surgery, radiology, obstetrics, emergency medicine, hospice, home care, laboratory, respiratory, audiology, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The Skiff Specialty Clinic hosts more than 20 physicians specializing in cardiology, dermatology, ENT, gastroenterology, nephrology, neurology, oncology, pulmonology and urology.
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