Meet Dr. Vicky Jones, Director of Medical Oncology at North Star Lodge

Vicky Jones, MD

Vicky Jones is a medical oncologist and a medical director at North Star Lodge. When she began working with people who have been diagnosed with cancer, Vicky chose to approach her relationship with each patient directly, believing that it’s best to always be honest with people. She walks the path with her patients, in good times and bad. During her free time, Vicky enjoys skiing with her family and judging competitive swim meets.

  1. What inspired you to choose medicine as a career?
    Truth be known, I’m the black sheep in my family because my family is 100% engineers. Everybody is an engineer and I went off in a different path. At some point, my high school principal took me in the office and said, “Have you ever thought about going into medicine?” I had never thought about it. Once I started, that became my path.
  2. Do you have a philosophy or approach to working with patients?
    People see me as being very real. I’m kind of down there with them and speak in a way that is clear to them so people can truly understand what is happening. I don’t hold back. I don’t mince it. I don’t sugar coat it. What I tell my patients over and over is that my job and my commitment is to be honest with them – not brutal, but honest. It’s also my job to walk that path with them. If the path is getting tough, I don’t abandon them. I think it’s important for the patient to know that my team and I are there with them in good times and bad. That’s our commitment.
  3. What do you appreciate most about the doctors and staff you work with?
    I think it’s cool when you get into a community that wants to focus on the wellness of its community. Having a facility like Memorial where they truly are community focused, is such a pleasure. They look at, “What can we do to make our community healthier and better?” “Where are the needs, how can we meet them, how can we ourselves stay viable within this healthcare environment that’s always changing?” But the mission and the focus is always on the community. That is really great to see. I had the opportunity to practice medicine in a number of different parts of the country. We’ve got something unique here with Memorial and with North Star.
  4. Tell me a little known fact about you or talk about what you like to do outside of work.
    A lot of my non-working life has been centered around my husband and raising my son. We like to go skiing. When we moved here, that is one of the things that I took up. Also, my son has been a swimmer since he was five years old. He is a competitive swimmer both for the YMCA as well as at Davis, so I attend a lot of swim meets. Along the way I decided if I was going to attend them I may as well get down and dirty and take part in it, so I am now a certified swim judge. I do stroke and turn and starts, and in about a year I’ll be a referee.
  5. What do you like about Yakima?I love the big outdoors feeling. I love the blue sky, but I also love the fact that we have the water and the mountains. When I want to escape up into the mountains I can do it in 45 minutes or less. One of the other things that I have been impressed with is how many Midwesterners live here. A lot of people from the Midwest feel at home here and I think it is because of the outdoors and the fact that you can see vistas and yet you have beautiful stuff around you. It’s very agricultural so it takes me back to that very comfortable place in my growing up years.

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Breast cancer survivor, Karen Kelley is saying goodbye.

Breast cancer survivor, Karen Kelley is saying goodbye.  Goodbye to weekly visits at North Star Lodge that is.  Dr Jones officially released the tether yesterday.  Always the jokester, Karen couldn’t resist the opportunity to declare it an “official divorce” which is inscribed on this cake she presented to the staff.  She looks forward to returning to her many physical activities including; running, rock climbing, weight lifting, and very soon, sky diving.

We wish Karen a fond farewell.  Just one of the many success stories that make our work here at North Star Lodge rewarding.



Looking for the Helpers!

A comment on the senseless Boston tragedy.  Watching the news, horrified.  One leader after another, telling the cameras what their department is doing about it.  Positive responses, to be sure.  The most encouraging voice yesterday, though, was from Mr. Rogers who said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

He is so right!  Thankfully, the news people turned quickly to pointing out the good people who scrambled to help others yesterday.  If we open our eyes, we see it everywhere, really. That’s how we roll; at least in Yakima!

As Tom Peters said, “Celebrate what you want to see more of”.

The Tootie Tidings

  • Where and when do you visit the patients? Tootie’s Rounds take place on Friday afternoons in the entire building. I am very careful not to disturb any patients that are tired and sleeping.
  • What was one of your best visits today? Today I saw a woman in the corner by herself, looking sad. I pranced for her and tilted my ears trying to get her attention but she was just staring at the floor. I walked forward and placed myself right where she was looking and wagged my tail. The woman’s face lit up in the biggest smile I have ever seen on a human! She must think I’m really cute!! I stood very still as she ran her hands through my thick coat and she told me the story of her first puppy. Her eyes got all watery as she told me her stories. I wanted to kiss her but my mom said no. So I politely listened and gave her a nice tail wag as we left. I think we made her day just a little bit easier.
  • What do you like most about your visits with the patients at North Star Lodge? Today my visit was fun because there were some ducks outside I kept trying to get a peek through the windows. It was hard to stop staring but I had to perform my therapy duties in the hopes that my mom would take me outside later to meet the ducks.