While growing up in Orlando, pediatrician Teena Hughes, M.D., decided early in life that she wanted to be a physician and heal young people.
“I always wanted to be a pediatrician,” she says. “That was my ultimate goal since the ninth grade.”
She achieved that goal, becoming a Board-certified pediatrician after earning her M.D. (Doctor of Medicine) degree from the University of South Florida College of Medicine, followed by a three-year residency at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.
Since then, Hughes has been helping New Tampa families raise healthy children for more than 20 years.
Her experience includes practicing as part of a healthcare group for seven years and now, from her own solo practice in the University Medical Park at E. Fletcher Ave. and N. 46th St., about five minutes south of Tampa Palms Blvd.
Families visiting Dr. Teena Hughes, M.D., P.A., Pediatrics will find plenty of space. The lobby and well-child areas were enlarged, while new bathrooms and exam rooms were added in a recent expansion.
“In pediatrics you don’t get just one person coming to see the doctor,” Dr. Hughes says. “It’s usually (two or more) people in a group, with strollers.”
Services provided to patients start even before a child is born, with free prenatal get-acquainted visits and consultations available for moms-to-be.
Routine exams for school and sports are conducted and Dr. Hughes carries a complete line of vaccines as she recommends that parents follow immunization schedules set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control or as required by their school district.
When it comes to treating childhood afflictions, Dr. Hughes and her team are prepared to treat everything from allergies to whooping cough.
She also is on the staff of the pediatrics department at the nearby Florida Hospital Tampa off Bruce B. Downs (BBD) Blvd.
The staff also is ready to take care of patients quickly, so the journey back to good health can begin.
“We always offer same-day appointments and try to get everybody in that needs to get in,” Dr. Hughes says. “Otherwise, they’ll just go to a walk-in clinic, but it’s much better to see your regular doctor.”
Receptionist and medical assistant Katie Klovski concurs. “We’re not going to turn them away,” says Klovski. “I want to make sure they’re taken care of and their medical needs are addressed.”
Klovski adds that one thing families can do to ensure things go smoothly during a medical appointment is to bring in your updated insurance cards whenever there are coverage changes.
Treating patients well is just as important a part of the care provided by Hughes Pediatrics as treating them quickly, according to nurse practitioner Brandy Higson, DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice). “It’s important to build a rapport so they feel like they’re getting the proper attention and you can have a trusting relationship.”
Trust is indeed an important part of any healing relationship, says Michelle Blackmon, LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse). “When they trust me, they’re comfortable asking for what they need.”
Blackmon has been with the practice for 14 years and speaks with confidence regarding the staff’s ability to take care of these young patients.
“We can handle anything that comes up,” she says.
Whatever maladies patients bring in the door, receptionist Jessica Archiquette says a caring attitude can help the office’s patients feel better.
“It’s important to show respect and empathy while taking care of their needs,” Archiquette says.
The commitment made by Dr. Hughes and her staff is such that many of their patients continue with the practice through their college years.
“A lot of them still need vaccines for college, so we’ll still see them if they want to come in,” she says.
Having treated an entire generation of children, Dr. Hughes is learning how much some of those patients appreciate her work.
“Some of my original (patients) are now bringing in their own kids,” she says. “It makes you feel like maybe you did a good job.”
Kendra Green is one of those former patients with children who are now patients of Dr. Hughes. She gives the practice five stars in her online Google review.
“It was only right that I trust her with the care of my children as well,” Green wrote. “Any time that I have contacted the after-hours service, I am responded to within the hour. Anyone I know with children, I always recommend this office.”
Also giving Hughes high approval in a Google review is Carly Reed, who writes, “Best caring and friendliest doctor. Teena is the best and she loves the kids and always makes sure to find out what’s ailing them.”
Two of the trends that Dr. Hughes says she finds noteworthy among her patients are growing problems with childhood obesity and diabetes. She says it’s not only important to eat the right foods, but to eat them the right way…as a family.
“It’s important to eat together,” says the longtime New Tampa resident. “You learn more about your children if you eat dinner together.”
Hughes also recommends limiting video games and electronic device usage and increasing exercise with things like walking, bike riding and sports to promote good childhood health.
Having previously worked in a group practice, Dr. Hughes says she finds that she actually likes the business side of what she does. Staying on top of things makes all of the difference as far as having the resources to attract good staff members and treat all of her patients’ needs appropriately.
“I think a lot of doctors just want to be doctors, but you can’t do that when you have your own practice,” Dr. Hughes says. “You have to make sure everything is completed and properly billed. It’s a lot easier to do that now with everything online.”
Most insurance plans are accepted at Dr. Hughes Pediatrics, which also participates in the Florida Healthy Kids program and in Medicaid.
Dr. Teena Hughes, M.D., P.A., Pediatrics is located at 4444 E. Fletcher Ave. For appointments and more information, call 903-0060 or visit TeenaHughesPediatrics.com (where you’ll find useful parenting and health links, as well as downloadable patient registration and history forms).