UPHS – Marquette Heroes: Joseph Steele, MD

What is your official title?
Hospitalist/Assistant Medical Director for Adfinitas Hospitalist Medicine Service at UP Health System-Marquette.

What was your motivation for a career in healthcare?
I’ve known that I wanted to be a physician since before kindergarten. I was exposed to healthcare consistently from as early as I can remember. Both of my parents, as well as an aunt and uncle, served as volunteers for the local first responder team/fire department. I also had a great family doctor when I was growing up that took care of me from birth until my early 20s. These factors strongly influenced my desire to pursue a career in healthcare.

What’s a typical day like for you?
The typical day has changed quite a bit the past month-and-a-half. With the COVID-19 pandemic my team decided to consolidate all patients under investigation, and those with proven COVID-19, to a single team. This team includes a Hospitalist Physician and a Resident Physician. This past month that volunteer has been Valerie Taglione, MD. We begin the day by splitting up the list and then proceed to review labs, studies, and notes from consultants. New consults are called and then we proceed with rounding. We start rounds with patients that are not under investigation then we proceed to the isolation area where we don our protective gear and complete rounds. This ends up being a surprisingly time-intensive process given how careful one needs to be to minimize the potential spread of infection. Following the completion of rounds in the isolation area, we proceed with placing further orders, writing notes, and calling family members to update them on progress and plans. The remainder of the day I spend doing follow-up visits, admitting patients under investigation, and participating in various COVID-19 focused committee meetings. If time permits, I work on other administrative tasks.

What does it mean to you to help these patients during these times?
I grew up in this area and have had many great people in my life that shaped me into the person I am today. I would not be where I am at professionally if it wasn’t for family, friends, teachers, and mentors that helped me along the way. To be able to give back to the community during this pandemic is especially meaningful for me.

What does this sense of community mean to you?
We have an outstanding community up here. I think the pandemic has shown how strongly our community members support one another. Whether it is assisting with PPE, providing meals to health care workers, or other innovative ways of producing equipment to help keep healthcare workers safe, the sense of community has been amazing. It truly is an honor to be able to participate in the care of people in this area.

What are some of your interests outside of work?
When I have time in the spring and summer I like to go fishing and do other typical summertime activities in the U.P. In the fall I like to get out and hunt if time permits. Most of my spare time I spend with my family, which has a recent new addition. My wife and I have a very busy household with 4 children. My biggest interest outside of work is trying to keep up with all of them!

What is your favorite part about working at UPHS-Marquette?

My favorite part is being able to work with a diverse team with some very unique personalities. I also enjoy the strong sense of teamwork in every area of the hospital. Everyone I work with has a desire to deliver excellent care to our patients. It’s a great team environment to be a part of.

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