In his PACC role, he follows up with patients who have been discharged from the hospital or Emergency Department to review their care plan and make sure they have what they need, such as prescriptions or transportation, ideally to prevent readmission for the same conditions.
McDermott, who most recently provided care with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Burlington, Vt., is passionate about behavioral health and its influence on preventative medicine.
“So much of preventative medicine really comes down to behavioral health, from dietary changes to exercise to substance use,” he said.
McDermott describes his philosophy of care as one centered on motivational interviewing and trying to align with patients to help them make long-term behavioral changes. He cites smoking cessation as an example of when he might use this strategy of helping people find motivation while working on their terms to help them stop.
“Building rapport with patients is incredibly important, aligning with their values and goals,” he said. “This helps to get buy-in for changes and reduces the risk of wasting our time and their time. Together we make sure we’re focusing on things they actually care about.”
Formerly employed as a skilled carpenter who made canoes and furniture, McDermott was drawn to a career in health care by a desire “to help people feel better.” He started taking night classes while doing carpentry, eventually enrolling in nursing school, and worked as a registered nurse for years before making the transition to nurse practitioner.
McDermott chose to provide care at Gifford, he said, because of its reputation.
“I have friends who work here and spoke very highly of it,” he said. “The impression I get from Gifford is that it’s very community- and patient-focused. A lot of places say that, but the people I talk to here seem to really mean what they say.”
McDermott is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. He completed his nurse practitioner residency with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Burlington, Vt., and previously provided care as a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at Porter Medical Center in Middlebury, Vt., and at Wake Robin Skilled Nursing Center in Shelburne, Vt. He earned a doctor of nursing practice degree from The University of Vermont, completed coursework at Portland Community College in Portland, Ore., and earned a bachelor’s degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash.
When not at work, McDermott can be found Nordic skiing, mountain biking, and electrifying old tractors.
For more information about Primary Care at Gifford, visit giffordhealthcare.org.
Gifford is a community hospital in Randolph, Vt., with family health centers in Berlin, Bethel, Chelsea, Randolph, and Rochester, and specialty services throughout central Vermont. A Federally Qualified Health Center and a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in the country, Gifford is a full-service hospital with a 24-hour emergency department and inpatient unit; many surgical services; an adult day program; 49-unit independent living facility, and a nursing home. The hospital’s mission is to improve individual and community health by providing and assuring access to affordable, high-quality health care in Gifford’s service area.