Andrea Leonards, DPM,is a podiatrist with the SLMA Comprehensive Health Clinic. She blends analytical thinking and problem-solving skills to help people in their time of need.
Why did you choose to go into the medical field?
“To help people” is always the easy, default answer – but to me it is more than that. I feel the medical field chose me a few times before
I chose it. My mom was a fantastic nurse, so I was always around medicine. She was the neighborhood nurse – often administering allergy shots, checking blood pressure or bandaging up all who needed it. I was always interested in her work. I obtained an engineering degree at LSU and could not see myself working behind a desk or at a chemical plant – I needed to interact with people every day. Podiatry was a great merge of both my analytical and social personality traits. I think this is what truly drew me to medicine, being able to think analytically, problem solve and use those gifts to help people in their time of need.
What is your favorite part of practicing medicine?
My favorite part of what I do is caring for patients, improving their quality of life, learning from their experiences and developing meaningful relationships with them, their families and other members of their care team.
What is your least favorite part of what you do?
My least favorite parts of what I do is delivering bad news to patients, the tremendous amount of paperwork and hassling with insurances companies that interfere with our ability to provide care.
What do your clients say about you?
My patients say that I’m kind, compassionate, knowledgeable and that I treat my patients with respect when developing treatment plans.
What interests you most about working at the SLMA Comprehensive Health Clinic?
Coming from a small, private practice I often have to focus on the business aspect as well as the medical practice, which often includes hours of administrative work. By joining SLMA, I have the ability to shift my full focus on quality patient care, creating a better balance. I also have immediate access to many other specialties and care team members to deliver the best, most comprehensive care to my patients.
What are your responsibilities within the clinic?
Podiatry focuses on treating any ailments of the foot and ankle. We deliver care through the pediatric to geriatric years. The diversity of podiatry is what appeals to me most – ingrown toenails, flat feet, sprains and fractures, heel pain, bunions and hammertoes, diabetic foot exams, wound evaluations and care are all examples of what would be treated in a typical day at the clinic.
Who inspires you?
My mom is my biggest inspiration. She was the only child in her family to go to college, receiving her BSN from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She was a registered nurse for more than 40 years, being a nursing instructor for more than 30 years. Her commitment to developing quality nurses and care with great compassion and kindness made me want to be just like her. She has always encouraged me to do more and be more, even during tough times. And, my children – they make me want to be a better caregiver and leave a legacy of love and service for them to follow.
Do you have a motto or personal mantra?
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
Our days are filled with many small tasks, that go overlooked – the mundane. I try to do all these “small things” well, with love and purpose – a simple smile and good morning greeting, genuinely listening to patient’s concerns, making sure staff members know you appreciate their efforts. I find these small things, can make a huge difference.
What are you most passionate about professionally?
I am passionate about the growing role of podiatrists in the healthcare realm – especially in the prevention and early treatment of diabetic foot wounds and infections, which often lead to some type of lower extremity amputation.
What most excites you about your work and the contribution you can make?
I am focused on improving our patients’ quality of life – when your feet hurt, it really stops you from doing the activities you enjoy such as exercise, playing with your kids, traveling, etc. If I can improve and/or resolve that pain, they can once again enjoy all aspects of life.
What are you passionate about personally?
I am passionate about my family – being a wife, mom, daughter and sister. We have three young children, current ages 5, 3 and 1. I want to be the best mom and role model to them, ensuring they know their value and that they are loved! Chasing them around the yard, swinging and playing ball occupies my afternoons. With all the demands of work and my family, I find myself repeating that the days are long, but the years are short, so I am trying to cherish these “short” years!
What is your favorite pastime outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my family – parents, brother’s family and sister’s family. I am fortunate that my family is all within two hours of each other, so we like to get together for any and all functions, and have all the cousins play and grow up together. I enjoy watching and sometimes participating in sports, particularly LSU – my alma mater! Plus, there are t-ball and soccer games , which I have a feeling will end up being my pastime for many years to come!
Anything else you’d like to tell people about yourself?
We are excited about the opportunity to continue to grow with SLMA. If you are a current patient, we will strive to continue to provide the level of care you deserve and have received over the years, and if you are a new patient, we look forward to exceeding your expectations.
South Louisiana Medical Associates is pleased to have physicians such as Dr. Leonards who are committed to good patient care. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation with Dr. Leonards or another member of our team, please call 985-262-1639.