Day in the Life – New Location, Same Great Care

July 1, 2013 5:15 pm

As told by Within staff writer Abigail Schantz

Upon arrival to the temporary building for the Mercy Health Rockford Campus I am greeted by Kara Morley-Smolek, MD the lead pediatrician for Mercy Health Physician Partners (MHPP). Morley-Smolek has been working with Mercy Health for eight years and has enjoyed every second of her job. Before the first appointment of the day, Morley-Smolek discusses the reasoning behind choosing pediatrics.

“I love interacting with children and their parents by helping them stay healthy and active and being able to see these benefits as the children grow,” Morley-Smolek said.

Morley-Smolek has a variety of responsibilities including clinically caring for the needs of patients, administrative responsibilities and most importantly, making sure patients feel comfortable with asking questions about their health. Morley-Smolek specializes in newborn to 18-year-old patients.

When a family visits for the first time with Morley-Smolek, she immediately forms a connection with them. She enjoys working with first-time parents to help, support and encourage along the way. Morley-Smolek takes the extra step to sit down with new patients to review family medical history and physical activities the patient likes to do, and then strategizes with the patient on how to stay healthy and safe throughout the year.

Some patients have followed Morley-Smolek from the downtown office to Rockford because they have formed a trusting relationship with her.

“My child asked me why we drove all the way out here to see Dr. Morley, and I said ‘because she is the best,’” said a parent of a patient of Morley-Smolek.

When a patient comes in for a visit with Morley-Smolek, either for a stomachache or to update his or her vaccines, each child leaves the office content. One family believes that the child played hooky just to come see Morley-Smolek.

During the summer the office is filled with patients coming in for their annual well-child check-up. The well-child check-up is when the child is updated on shots, measured for height and weight and then asked about lifestyle. If a patient is 14 years or older, Morley-Smolek asks to have a confidential talk about “teenage stuff.” This conversation helps Morley-Smolek’s adolescent patients voice their health care needs and builds a stronger connection to their physician.

Morley-Smolek works closely with two medical assistants (MAs) who thoroughly enjoy working with her. The three constantly work as a team with charting medical information, updating new information with the patient and providing quality care to each patient.

“Morley-Smolek is very understanding with her patients and staff members, as she listens to each of us carefully. I really enjoy working with her,” said Jill, one of Morley-Smolek’s MAs.

If you are seeking a pediatrician, please call Mercy Health Physician Partners at 616.685.8500 or visit




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