In June 2011, the UNM College of Nursing took its first step toward operating a primary care clinic in Sandoval County by accepting its first group of patients – all pregnant women.
The plan for the nurse-managed, faculty clinic, named Family Health Partnerships/ Compañeros de Salud Familiar, is to first provide care for pregnant women and then eventually expand into a primary care clinic for the entire community.
The clinic currently offers group prenatal care and a host of maternity services.
"We’re the first to provide full obstetrics group care for women in this area," said Christine Cogil, certified family nurse practitioner and clinical instructor. "Before, many women were not receiving full prenatal care especially toward the end of their pregnancy. They would drop off at 28 weeks because it was hard for them to drive to Albuquerque. We wanted the clinic to help fill that gap of women dropping off in their prenatal care."
The clinic sees groups of women at a time and keeps the groups together throughout their prenatal care and first year of the infant. This approach allows the women to form a strong support network among one another, and the nurses and students get to experience what working in a community clinic is like.
"It’s so wonderful to watch the groups," said Felina Ortiz, UNM College of Nursing faculty and nurse midwife clinical instructor. "We’re just the facilitators and the women are actually the educators. They share stories and give advice. It’s really nice to watch a community come together."
In addition to providing the community more access to health care, the clinic serves as an educational site for nursing students. Students get a hands-on clinical experience and learn how health care can be tailored to fit the needs of an entire community.
"The students really benefit from working with the groups of women," said Cogil. "They don’t normally work with groups in other clinics and this allows them to really see how a community-based clinic works. It’s about listening to the community’s needs and giving them health care that is specific to those needs."
"This clinic focuses on three important realms; clinical, students (education), and community," said Ortiz.
With those three realms in focus, the College of Nursing continues to build a community clinic that provides expert health care, gives students a valuable clinical experience, and will soon serve all people of Sandoval County for generations to come.
El Pueblo Health Services
121 Calle del Presidente
Bernalillo, New Mexico
For more information, call the program office at (505) 925-8688.