For the past two years, nurse practitioner Maggie Taylor has cared for patients of all ages at Crossroads Family Medicine in Winona.
As a nurse practitioner, Taylor is able to assist patients in a way she was unable to do before as a registered nurse, and that is what she loves most about her profession.
“My favorite part is being able to connect and develop relationships with my patients,” Taylor said. “I can provide them with the education, knowledge, and motivation they need to make positive changes in their lives and bringing them in for their three or six-month follow-up to see how far they have come. That is the best feeling – to see them get to that point where their numbers look better, they feel better, and they are healthier. Reaching their goals excites them, and it excites me, their health provider, as well.”
She sees this often with her diabetic patients, as they require a lot of education in managing their conditions. However, in treating patients in a primary care clinic, she provides care to entire families, providing general wellness check-ups, managing chronic illnesses, treating illnesses like colds and flu.
The daughter of Marlee Golden and Larry McLellan, Taylor grew up in Carroll County and graduated from Pillow Academy. After attending Delta State University for undergraduate studies, Taylor went on to get her Bachelors of Nursing at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. After graduation, she worked as a registered nurse in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit at UMMC, where she worked with pediatric and adult patients.
In 2011, Taylor and her husband, Ryan, married, and the couple moved back to the Crossroads area after Ryan finished law school. Taylor then worked as a registered nurse for Sta-Home Hospice before she decided to return to school to become a nurse practitioner.
“For a while, I thought I was fully-satisfied being a bedside nurse,” Taylor said. “Over the years, I felt the nudge to learn more, so I went to [Mississippi University for Women] and got my masters in family practice. I kind of fought the idea [of becoming a nurse practitioner], and then it just hit me. I knew it was time, and I’m so glad I did it.”
After completing her nurse practitioner degree, Taylor went to work for Carrollton Family Clinic, where she stayed for three years before joining Crossroads Family Medicine.
Nearly two months ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic reached Mississippi, Taylor began treating patients in Tyler Holmes Memorial Hospital’s Fast Track Clinic, a clinic specializing in patients exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and testing for the virus. This allowed the hospital to keep patients visiting the two family clinics for everyday care from being exposed to the virus.
“Tyler Holmes did a great job in the beginning [of this pandemic] by creating the Fast Track Clinic to separate well patients from [those possibly infected with COVID-19],” Taylor said. “Those who were sick with fever and upper respiratory symptoms go to the Fast Track Clinic.”
Fully outfitted in personal protection equipment, Taylor and other nurse practitioners and registered nurses manned the Fast Track Clinic. The number of cases in Mississippi continued to rise, and Montgomery County began reporting its own cases and even one death.
After two weeks of seeing patients at the Fast Track Clinic, Taylor said she developed a headache and was severely fatigued. That night, she developed a 101-degree fever. She was tested the next day for COVID-19, and her test came back positive.
Taylor and her family, husband Ryan, and two-year-old son Sadler quarantined at home. She described her symptoms as mild, with some shortness of breath on exertion. And on day 12, she developed upper respiratory symptoms similar to the flu.
“I was super thankful I was able to recover at home,” Taylor said. “The danger with this virus is you can have mild symptoms, but your neighbor can end up with severe illness and hospitalized.”
Taylor said her husband, Ryan, did exhibit some secondary symptoms like conjunctivitis, which some say is a symptom, but because he was already quarantined at home, he was not tested. Son Sadler did not experience symptoms.
It took about 17 days for Taylor to recover from COVID-19, getting retested when she showed no further symptoms. Her test came back negative, and she was allowed to return to work at Crossroads Family Medicine. She still helps staff the Fast Track Clinic when needed.
Experiencing COVID-19 personally and seeing patients who test positive for the virus, Taylor said while some people test positive and show no symptoms, others develop severe symptoms that could lead to hospitalization.
“Most people are able to go home and quarantine without complications,” Taylor said. “The next person to get it may not be as fortunate.”
This past week, Taylor said Carroll and Montgomery counties have been hit with a second wave of COVID-19 cases, with Montgomery County reporting 51 cases and one death as of Wednesday and Carroll County reporting 102 cases and three deaths.
Taylor said the last two months have been difficult for this community, but she encouraged people to continue with efforts preventing the spread of the highly-contagious virus. That includes practicing good hygiene like handwashing, social distancing, and wearing a mask in public.
“I know this is tough,” she said. “I know it is emotionally draining and physically draining. Collectively we have the same goal of getting back to a new normal, but we have to social distance, and we have to wear masks in public. You are wearing it to protect yourself, but you are also wearing it to protect your neighbor, your grandparents, and others.”
Outside of medicine, Taylor is a member of First Baptist Church of Winona, plays tennis for the Winona adult league, and is a member of the Mississippi Nurses Association and the Mississippi Association of Nurse Practitioners.