by Lauren Henry Rogers
Photos by Mindy Kerr at Nature's Child Photography
A Jacksonville native, Dr. Mary Ann Kenneson of Blue Water Urology Associates is a board certified urologic surgeon who has become one of the region’s leading experts in urology. Establishing her practice in Northeast Florida has not only been a homecoming, but the embodiment of realized dreams.
Dr. Kenneson began her medical career as a nurse and worked her way up to a surgeon. “I took the long road around to becoming a urologic surgeon,” jokes Dr. Kenneson, “but I wouldn’t want it any other way.” She first worked as an RN and then completed a Master’s Degree at the University of Florida as a nurse practitioner. It was while working as a nurse practitioner that she realized she wanted to become a surgeon. She was accepted into the University of Kentucky College of Medicine where she served as class president and graduated with honors. Dr. Kenneson completed her surgical residency training at the Ohio State University, spending an additional year on staff concentrating her focus on robotic surgery.
Growing up in Jacksonville, she graduated from Bishop Kenny High School and though school took her away, it was always her intent to return home. The road may have been winding, but Dr. Kenneson was laser focused on opening her office in Jacksonville, Florida where everything began. With family being the major force drawing her in, (her mother, brother and sister reside here), it has also been what keeps her here. Dr. Kenneson reminisces, “Before I moved back to Jacksonville, I used to laugh talking about a five year plan to get the entire family to join me in Florida once my surgical residency was complete.” Since relocating to Florida, both of her adult children have joined her in the Jacksonville area helping to fulfill this plan as she imagined. Dr. Kenneson remains strongly devoted to her family, and her practice, where she is beloved by her patients for her exceptional bedside manner and individualized treatment plans.
Here, Dr. Kenneson gives us a glimpse into her journey proving that with hard work, effort, dedication, and just a dash of dreaming, you can achieve anything you set your mind and your heart to.
Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am a board certified urologic physician and surgeon. I treat all urologic diseases on both men and women. I am specifically trained in robotic assisted laparoscopic surgery, which usually helps decrease postoperative pain, bleeding, and length of hospital stay for patients.
With such a broad background in medicine, how did you get into Urology?
A lot of people ask me, being female, how did I get into urology? The truth is, I kind of fell into it, but I also fell in love with it. For me, urology has been a field that allows me to continue using my strong medical background while allowing me to operate. It really is the perfect match for me.
What is your background?
I started my career as a two-year nurse before going back to school for a bachelor’s degree in nursing. I then continued my journey as a nurse practitioner with a master’s degree in nursing. It was while working in this physician extender role where I realized my love of surgery. This led me to attend medical school and, as they say, the rest is history.
Was there a certain experience as a young person that led you to become a doctor? Please tell the story.
I’ve always been a “hands on” type of person and was drawn to medicine from an early age. The ability to make a lasting impact in people’s lives for the better captivated me. Getting the exposure to performing procedures as a nurse practitioner and the increased interaction with the doctors and surgeons helped me discover what I was really meant to do: become a doctor, and more importantly, a surgeon.
What aspect of your work do you enjoy most?
I love the relationships I have with my patients. I truly get as much from them as they get from me. The interaction I have now with my patients as a doctor continues to make me dedicated and compassionate about this field.
Did you/do you have a mentor?
There was a urologic surgeon when I was working as a nurse practitioner at the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky who inspired me. I just loved his interaction with his patients and he was an awesome surgeon and an all around great person. He was a great mentor and I have always appreciated that.
How does being a Doctor change your life?
The responsibility can be unimaginably sobering and at the same time extremely rewarding.
What are the newest/best treatments for women’s health today?
We have just introduced the Mona Lisa Touch as an addition to the therapies provided at our office and I think it’s going to be a game changer for women’s health. The Mona Lisa Touch is an innovative, clinically proven, minimally invasive laser treatment that improves pelvic health. In the past we had to rely on hormonal therapy. Now we have an exciting alternative without the associated risk. It is exciting for women’s health as a whole and we’re already seeing phenomenal results.
What sets your practice apart?
I think my communication skills with patients, really being able to listen and understand what’s wrong, sets me apart from the rest. I think oftentimes, as physicians, we get so busy that we really don’t stop to listen, and I make that a huge part of my practice, listening, so that I can actually help with the problems that are bothering the patients. I also credit my outstanding medical team at Blue Water Urology Associates for being so friendly and professional to our patients and for helping to provide advanced care to the men and women of Northeast Florida. As a whole, we seek to work together with our patients and provide exceptional care from the minute they enter our door and I believe this also sets us apart.
What is your favorite activity when you are not working? Do you have any hobbies?
I like anything outdoors; gardening, fishing, boating, and watching Jags games, you name it! I also love spending time with my family and friends and playing with my grandson. It has become a tradition to host Sunday night dinners and everyone comes over for a day of grilling out, laughing and enjoying time together.
What is your favorite place or thing to do in our community?
My favorite place is the Fernandina Beach/Amelia Island area, exploring the shops on Center Street downtown, listening to music at the Green Turtle, and trying every pizza spot available, but my favorite thing to do is spend time fishing offshore, hence the name Blue Water Urology Associates.
*For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call #904.644.8353 or visit Dr. Kenneson’s website, bluewaterurology.com or find her on Facebook by searching Blue Water Urology Associates today.
St. Johns Magazine