Practice Without Prejudice

Tamieka Alston-Gibson, '07

The elderly patient who came to the facility where Tamieka Alston-Gibson, ’07, was working early in her career was clearly ill and in need of care. But she owed a balance on her account – “it wasn’t a large one,” Alston-Gibson recalls – and was turned away.

The woman ended up in the hospital for pneumonia. That incident inspired Alston-Gibson’s vision to one day open her own clinic, where she could treat any patient who needed help, whatever their circumstances.

“I truly feel that health care should be a human right,” she says. “Regardless of what your bank account looks like, your insurance looks like, or what you look like, you should be able to receive quality care.”

Alston-Gibson, a family nurse practitioner, opened Visions Medical Health Care in 2018. True to her goal, she sees a range of patients, from babies to seniors, at all ends of the financial spectrum. Twice a week she and her team also visit assisted living facilities to provide care to residents. They do house calls, too, for patients with mobility or health issues that make it difficult to leave home.

Even in the midst of the pandemic, the clinic remained opened. Alston-Gibson said there were plenty of challenges, such as a shortage of protective equipment and a few temporary closures when staff were exposed to COVID, but her team worked hard to keep seeing patients, either virtually or in drive-up visits outside.

“Care with purpose” is a core value at Visions, Alston-Gibson says. She was drawn to a nursing career early in her life, after seeing the supportive care nurses offered her uncle when MS immobilized him. “I just wanted to be able to help someone else the same way that they helped him,” she says.

While she’s proud of the work she’s done so far to build her clinic, Alston-Gibson isn’t done yet. In August she began an online doctoral program through Regis University focused on psychology and mental health, an area where she’s seen high patient need. “I want to be able to help in any way, and if I’m going to do it, I want to be one of the best and most knowledgeable in it,” she says.

Every second weekend, she visits the Lowcountry, where she’s from, to provide patient care there, and she hopes to eventually open a second clinic between Spartanburg and Greenville. But first she and her husband would like to open a residential care facility for those who need help with basic needs such as medication management.

“It’s important to me to be able to help those who ordinarily would get overlooked,” she says.