WTAMU health clinic brings lessons to life

Feature Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

Feature Story. Art by Chris Brockman.

WTAMU has one-of-a-kind qualities, and the nursing program does, too. The program’s students have one thing most students at other schools don’t: a full-time health clinic to learn.

“We have undergrads coming in, two per week while they’re in their community rotation units of nursing,” Health Partners Clinic registered nurse Brynn Mereneff said. “We only spend a day with each of them while they are here.”
Mereneff has been working for the clinic almost two and a half years, but nursing students have visited the clinic for some time.

“Nursing students from WT have been coming since the clinic first opened its doors in 2003,” Mereneff said.

Mereneff explained the connection between the campus and the clinic.

“The health clinic is a part of the nursing department on campus, but it’s a primary care clinic for Amarillo,” she said. “There are four full-time nurses and one part-time. People come in and help with two nurse practitioners, a medical assistant, a financial coordinator, then me as the RN.”

The clinic accepts insurances like CHIP, First Care, Amerigroup, Superior, most private insurances, Medicare and Texas Medicaid.

“One purpose of the clinic opening was to be in an area of Medicaid and Medicare patients,” she said. “It’s basically a big outreach to the community.”

To WT nursing student Lexie Terrell, that’s not all the health clinic is; it’s an opportunity different from doing clinicals in the hospital.

“In the clinic, we do the simple skills of manual vital signs like giving shots and drawing blood,” Terrell said. “In the hospital, we use the ‘nurse on the stick’ to do the vital signs, so it’s easy to lose the skill of taking manual blood pressure.”

This is Terrell’s first semester being able to visit the clinic.

“We do it as a clinical day in our Populations class, and we only get to go one time,” she said. “The students who are assigned go either on Tuesday or Wednesday, are on the opposite days of when we go to the hospital for our other clinical.”

Terrell said she finds the program advantageous to the nursing department.

“I think this program is awesome,” she said. “It really gives us a different aspect of nursing.”

According to the WT’s Health Partners Clinic page, it’s a primary care clinic operated by nurse practitioners and provides care for all ages, accepting various insurances. The clinic is highly qualified to help with health assessments, Texas

Health Steps, physicals for sports, medical, foster children, and government, immunizations, and prescriptions.

As the website states, “The Health Partners Clinic family health clinic is committed to serving the community through excellence in health care, nursing education, and research. Our primary goal is providing our patients with the highest quality health care and services.’’