Southwell OB/GYN is located in Valdosta and consists of doctors: Joe Clifton, Pam Temples, and Nikki Yarbrough. The practice opened in the middle of the pandemic, during the fall season of 2020. Celebrating nearly two years of serving the residents in Valdosta, Southwell OB/GYN prides itself on providing excellent patient care and being a one stop women’s care facility.
All three doctors have a history of serving the Valdosta community. Before coming together to open Southwell OB/GYN, the team all worked together in a private practice. They then decided to branch out to give women a more intimate approach which eventually birthed Southwell OB/GYN. Though exciting, one can imagine the nerves that occurred before opening day.
“It was scary,” said Dr. Yarbrough. “Anything new and different, and anytime you make major life changes…obviously there’s going to be trepidation that goes along with it.”
But there was nothing to fear, for the practice has been well received by patients that come in and out all week long.
Dr. Yarbrough, one of the three doctors, shared her personal background before opening Southwell OB/GYN. Being no stranger to the South Georgia area, Dr. Yarbrough was born and raised in Valdosta. She completed her undergraduate experience at Valdosta State University, and from there, she attended medical school at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine in Lewisburg, W.Va.
For residency, she attended East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tenn. Her overall plan was to come back home to practice medicine in her hometown. Her love for medicine came at a young age, having grown up in hospitals during childhood. At 11-months-old, Dr. Yarbrough had to have a kidney removed, after being diagnosed with a Wilms (cancerous) tumor. Going to numerous doctor appointments, eventually gained her interest in helping others.
“I knew I wanted to be some kind of doctor,” said Dr. Yarbrough. “I didn’t always know I wanted to be an OB/GYN, but I wanted to be some sort of doctor.”
Once the decision was made to be a doctor, her path to obstetrics and gynecology began. After having the opportunity to work with general surgeons in Valdosta before going to medical school, the light bulb turned on.
“You take out somebody’s gallbladder, and then, you see them once or twice back, and you’re kind of done with them,” said Dr. Yarbrough. “But OB/GYN… you have the surgical side of things, but then, you also have the continuity of care with seeing the patients you know year by year, doing their annual exams, [and] delivering their babies.
Speaking of labor and delivery services, there are also a plethora of other services offered at Southwell OB/GYN. Mammograms, urogynecology, fertility and infertility, and heart care are some of the additional women’s services that are offered. In addition to those services, pediatric, ophthalmology and primary care, and plastic surgery are offered.
“We’re kind of a one-stop shop as far as women’s care,” said Dr. Yarbrough. “You don’t have to go anywhere else. Everything is right there under our roof.”
When speaking about Southwell’s OB/GYNmammogram unit, Dr. Yarbrough says it can be done swiftly in the office. They have two ultrasound units with two ultrasonographers and a bone density scan. Having a lab within the practice helps cut down the waiting time a patient would typically have waiting on a hospital and other appointments. “You’ll get it done within [the] one or two hours that you’re with us that day for your appointment,” Dr. Yarbrough said. As an OB/GYN, one of the main duties is making sure babies are delivered safely, which gives the doctors great joy. Dr. Yarbrough explains how great it is to have been in the medical field for 18 years and seeing babies she delivered grow up and come back to see her.
For moms, especially first-timers, it’s important for the team to establish relationships with their patients. Dr. Yarbrough explains that first time mothers come in looking for the “personal touch” to help guide them through the next nine months. It’s important that the patient trusts their medical provider and for the process to be as stress free as possible. All three doctors help each other out with patients if one is out of town during a delivery.
“It’s not some random person walking in to deliver their baby that they’ve never met or seen once or twice,” said Dr. Yarbrough. “That’s how we try to do at our practice now for the most part.”
When asked about the influence of opening their own practice, Dr. Clifton, also a part of the Southwell OB/GYN trio, said it was the recognition of evolving medicine and the need to adapt to those changes. Before, he described it as “provider-centric”, meaning in medical offices, patients were often routed from one area to another for the convenience of the provider. This caused more efficiency to see more patients, but it also came at the expense of the patient’s privacy.
Seeing the necessary changes, they had to implement them in making what Southwell OB/GYNis today…”patient-centric.”
“We have a front lobby for check-in, but no waiting areas and certainly no sub-waiting areas or lines to stand in,” said Dr. Clifton. “When you arrive, you are escorted to your own private suite with a private bathroom which is yours for the duration of your visit. Your vitals are taken there, your history is reviewed there, your exam is performed there, your blood is drawn there, and at the end of your appointment you are checked out from there. You will never have to worry about other people over-hearing any discussion of your medical or even your payment and financial issues.” Ultimately if you are one that enjoys a more personable experience, then, Dr. Clifton says Southwell OB/GYNis the place for you.
And it has been well received by the community, already winning awards in the short span they have been open. Last year, the local newspaper awarded Best OBGYN practice in town. Dr. Yarbrough recalls the practice feeling great about winning since it was voted on by the community. “It motivates you,” said Dr. Yarbrough. “That’s who we’re doing this for…patients so they can have the best experience that they can.” Feeling comfortable and creating a fun environment is another joy Southwell OB/GYN takes pride in. She explains how it doesn’t “feel” like work when coming in everyday but more so a family.
Dr. Temples, (also a part of the doctor trio), emphasizes the family atmosphere by highlighting the importance of doctor-patient relationships.
“The importance of [a] doctor-patient relationship is to foster a place of trust that optimizes the most positive outcome,” said Dr. Temples. “Ultimately, stronger doctor-patient relationships correlate to better health outcomes which is the overarching goal of health care.”
And she would be correct. According to FierceHealthcare, 89% of Americans value their relationship with their primary doctor.
It is evident that the staff at Southwell OB/GYNis doing an amazing job at making their patients feel welcomed and comfortable, while promoting high quality care. Even though they’ve only been operating for a short period of time, Southwell OB/GYN is here to stay.
Beyond OB/GYN services, Southwell is proud to serve Valdosta and Lowndes County with the following clinics:
Southwell Internal Medicine
Southwell Infectious Disease
Southwell Primary Care
Visit mysouthwell.com today for more details about how they can care for the whole family.
Written by Tyrah Walker. Photography submitted by Southwell OB/GYN.