Vicky Jones is a medical oncologist and a medical director at North Star Lodge. When she began working with people who have been diagnosed with cancer, Vicky chose to approach her relationship with each patient directly, believing that it's best to always be honest with people. She walks the path with her patients, in good times and bad. During her free time, Vicky enjoys skiing with her family and judging competitive swim meets.
What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
Truth be known, I'm the black sheep in my family because my family is 100% engineers. Everybody is an engineer and I went off in a different path. At some point, my high school principal took me in the office and said, "Have you ever thought about going into medicine?" I had never thought about it. Once I started, that became my path.
Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
People see me as being very real. I'm kind of down there with them and speak in a way that is clear to them so people can truly understand what is happening. I don't hold back. I don't mince it. I don't sugar coat it. What I tell my patients over and over is that my job and my commitment is to be honest with them - not brutal, but honest. It's also my job to walk that path with them. If the path is getting tough, I don't abandon them. I think it's important for the patient to know that my team and I are there with them in good times and bad. That's our commitment.
What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
I think it's cool when you get into a community that wants to focus on the wellness of its community. Having a facility like Memorial where they truly are community focused, is such a pleasure. They look at, "What can we do to make our community healthier and better?" "Where are the needs, how can we meet them, how can we ourselves stay viable within this healthcare environment that's always changing?" But the mission and the focus is always on the community. That is really great to see. I had the opportunity to practice medicine in a number of different parts of the country. We've got something unique here with Memorial and with North Star.
Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
A lot of my non-working life has been centered around my husband and raising my son. We like to go skiing. When we moved here, that is one of the things that I took up. Also, my son has been a swimmer since he was five years old. He is a competitive swimmer both for the YMCA as well as at Davis, so I attend a lot of swim meets. Along the way I decided if I was going to attend them I may as well get down and dirty and take part in it, so I am now a certified swim judge. I do stroke and turn and starts, and in about a year I'll be a referee.
What do you like about Yakima?
I love the big outdoors feeling. I love the blue sky, but I also love the fact that we have the water and the mountains. When I want to escape up into the mountains I can do it in 45 minutes or less. One of the other things that I have been impressed with is how many Midwesterners live here. A lot of people from the Midwest feel at home here and I think it is because of the outdoors and the fact that you can see vistas and yet you have beautiful stuff around you. It's very agricultural so it takes me back to that very comfortable place in my growing up years.