UAMS Physician, Nurse Honored by Legislature

By Spencer Watson

Orthopedic specialist Lawrence O’Malley, M.D., and Jo Smith, a nurse and the director of special projects in the UAMS Center for Patients and Families, were named Doctor of the Day and Nurse of the Day, respectively, on the floor of the Arkansas Senate.

“Every day they have a physician and a nurse in case something happens, such as a heart attack, a fall down the steps or really anything,” said Smith, who explained that the two honorees work in concert for the day with a permanent staff nurse in the capitol’s infirmary.

O’Malley said there were multiple orthopedic issues, including ankle sprains and falls, which he tended to.

“Being Doctor of the Day means acting as physician for the legislature for the day, so I took care of their medical needs,” he said.

Such injuries can be common when the State Capitol has the high traffic it gets during a legislative session. Smith said there were hundreds of guests, including 4H groups from all over the state, in the building throughout the day – and that’s part of what made the experience exciting.

“It’s really very interesting to see,” Smith said. “It was very busy. I bet they had 500 kids in green shirts down there. Meanwhile, it’s interesting to watch all the politics and discussions and how everything goes into all the decisions legislators make.”