Adoracion Chao, FNP-C

Telehealth nurse practitioner takes thorough approach to patient care

“You really want to be in-depth with your assessment in case a patient forgets to tell you something, because that will help you to identify any issues.”

Adora Chao knows the importance of connecting with her patients. This primary care family nurse practitioner once did an assessment for a deaf patient completely in American Sign Language. She’s spoken to patients in English, Tagalog, and some limited Spanish, too. “You want to be very thorough in everything you do,” she says, “and that means you need to effectively communicate.”

Passionate about helping her patients, Adora gets her inspiration from family. Her mother passed away from cervical cancer, inspiring Adora to pursue a career in nursing to help others. She became a Family Nurse Practitioner in order to do even more for her patients. Adora has worked in a variety of settings from the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and telemetry units in the hospital to urgent care clinics and pediatrics. An early adopter of telehealth, Adora was also a virtual provider during the pandemic.

She joined the Vanguard eCare telemedicine team to continue this important work. “Telehealth is different from a regular inpatient visit,” says Adora. “It’s more complex because you’re not there to physically examine a patient, listen to their lungs, and so on. You depend upon a patient’s self-assessment but you also guide them, for example in palpitating their glands or pressing on their abdomen and asking them to describe how they feel. Before I talk with my patients, I also review their charts so I’m aware of their preexisting conditions and medications they are taking.”

Adora’s patients like that she’s thorough, and that she takes the time to educate them and help them find the resources they need. They also appreciate her sense of humor. “It’s all a matter of making them feel comfortable so that they can talk to you about their health concerns,” says Adora.

A lifelong learner, Adora is near completion of her second Master’s, as a Psychology and Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She looks forward to integrating this new skill in helping her patients.

When she’s not busy working, Adora enjoys traveling, especially out of the country. She also likes to garden during warm weather. She is a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

Jill Magioncalda, FNP

Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Creates Virtual Connections via Telehealth

I want my patients to ask questions so they learn and understand their health needs.”

Jill Magioncalda knows the importance of understanding a medical diagnosis. Her son, now grown and healthy, was born with a birth defect and had three surgeries before he was a year old. “I wanted to empower myself with knowledge so I would know the questions to ask,” she said. That inspired her to become a nurse, and to pursue the advanced education and training of a family medicine nurse practitioner. Today, she helps patients at Vanguard via telehealth, also called telemedicine.

Jill began her career as a nursing instructor at ECPI University, inspiring the next generation of nurses. In that role, she worked to implement and coordinate efforts with the South Carolina State Board of Nursing to adopt the first LPN program for the university. At the same time, she volunteered and then worked at a free medical clinic, serving those in greatest need. Jill continued her career in a variety of medical settings. She has worked in long-term care and rehabilitation, in a Healthy House Calls program, in hospice, and was one of the pioneering practitioners in telemedicine.

When COVID-19 hit, Jill was on the front lines, offering her expertise at one of New Jersey’s mega sites. “I found again that people needed to understand what is going on, and needed good solid evidence-based medicine,” she said. She helped to educate those patients about COVID.

Jill joined Vanguard because of its patient-first focus and its robust telemedicine program. “When I wake up in the morning, I’m excited to go to work,” she said. “I get an opportunity to connect with my patients and form relationships from the very first encounter.” Patients like Jill’s easygoing manner and openness. She encourages them to ask questions and to take the helm of their own healthcare, partnering with her for healthy outcomes. She also works closely with the Vanguard team. “I really enjoy the collaboration,” she said.

When she’s not busy working, Jill enjoys helping with events for her town. She and her husband are active in planning Olde Freehold Day and Freehold’s Halloween Extravaganza.

Alexandra Citro, PA-C

Telemedicine Physician Assistant Enjoys Practicing Family Medicine

“I see patients through a family practice lens. I look at all facets of their mental and physical health to help them feel their best.”

Alexandra Citro discovered her future career while she was hospitalized at age 20 for a heart problem. “The physician assistant (PA) was amazing,” she said. “She took the time to talk with me and ease my fears during a scary situation.” Alexandra already had her eye on a career in healthcare, but at that moment she set out to learn more about physician assistants. “It was the perfect blend of everything I wanted,” Alexandra said, “with a large focus on patient care.”

She went on to work initially in hematology oncology with cancer patients, then in family medicine and urgent care. “I really love the continuity of care in family medicine,” she said. “I enjoy getting to know my patients and being able to help them not only when they have an immediate need, but with their overall health.”

As a telemedicine provider, Alexandra starts by reviewing a patient’s medical history before she sees him or her on video chat. “I like to get a picture of my patients first because that may affect the treatment I recommend.” She goes on to make sure patients have a medical home and addresses their overall mental and physical health during a virtual visit. “My focus is on the whole person, including preventive care. Therefore, I might recommend diet, exercise, meditation or other lifestyle changes that will help them feel good.”

Alexandra joined Vanguard for its focus on the whole patient. “I like that Vanguard isn’t linked to a huge hospital and is independent. It has a family feel to it where both providers and patients are part of that family.”

When she’s not working, Alexandra enjoys cooking and baking for her kids.  She also loves to read. She and her husband, John, have three young children and enjoy spending time together. When her schedule allows, Alexandra also volunteers. She has cut hair for Locks of Love and packed lunches for Feed the Need, furnishing meals to children in Africa through her church.