“…the skills I gained at PCHC allowed me to provide safe and quality care to the patients from day one.”
I had a great nurse practitioner education with rotations in a variety of community health centers and emergency rooms. I learned best practices to treat common acute and chronic conditions in Connecticut, a state with an at-most thirty-minute drive to a major medical center. I knew I needed mentored exposure to rural patients and rural situations before returning to Alaska. Weather, geographics, lack of reliable internet/phone connections, supply issues, prolonged time for diagnostics to result and understanding how to be a patient-centered provider with the often unusual treatment choices made by people who elect to live very self-reliant, remote lifestyles requires a very different way of thinking and medical decision-making. I left my PCHC residency with a framework on how to do just that. The rotation to rural Jackman, Maine, time spent doing rural hospice and all the extra exposure to medical specialties translated well. Incredibly I was able to go directly into practice in small-town Alaska in a tribal operated community health center where I covered three clinics. One of which is only accessible by boat/plane and one of which had been closed due to lack of a provider until I arrived. I worked most of the time by myself except for one medical assistant. While it was a huge challenge and terrifying at times, the skills I gained at PCHC allowed me to provide safe and quality care to the patients from day one. The greatest compliment to PCHC residency came one month into practice when a locum nurse practitioner from the rural Carolinas arrived to help. She stated that in her over 30 years of practice and teaching I was the most prepared and capable new grad she had ever seen. Thank you PCHC and all the preceptors that gave of their time and wisdom. It resulted in rural people getting regular access, many for the first time in their lives, to healthcare.