This article is one in a series of articles in observance of National Nurse’s Week. We will be posting profiles of local nurses each day.
At Prescott Family Clinic, located in that city on 322 Hale Avenue, a staff of six, overseen by Michael C. Young Jr, M.D., covers everything from the pediatric to the geriatric. As one of its nurses, Ashley Gulley, said, “We do pretty much anything, with it being a small town and the closest hospital being in Hope.”
This can include injuries, as one of Gulley’s examples, attests. “We had a patient come in. He had a fight with a chain saw,” she said. “So we stitched him up.”
The clinic, which contains a full-service medical lab, also gives injections. It also can do x-rays and even vasectomies on site.
Over half of PFC’s patients are on either Medicaid or Medicare, Gulley said. Patients have been known to travel there from such cities as Little Rock, Texarkana, Delight and Magnolia. The majority of PFC’s patients are in the age group, Gulley said, “From 40 to 90.”
Gulley’s interest in the medical field started when she was a third grader in Hope, when her third-grade teacher was Renee Sells, who is now the Yerger Middle School’s Head Nurse.
After high school, Gulley started working in 2000 in a medical lab at then-Medical Park Hospital in Hope. When she was hired at PFC, she found herself gradually taking up more responsibilities with patients, learning skills traditionally considered those of a nurse. She serves in that capacity today while continuing to learn more, a recent example being the positioning of patients for x-rays. Gulley has served 13 years in the medical field, with two of them as nurse.
Here she describes her typical day: “We start seeing patients at eight. And then we see anywhere from eight to 14 in the morning. And then we see anywhere from eight to 10 in the afternoon.”
The pandemic did not disrupt this routine as much as it simply masked it and moved it, with PFC’s clinicians donning masks and other Personal Protective Equipment and coming out to patients in their parked cars to perform COVID testing. Gulley said, as of our interview in late April, that things on the COVID front are relatively calm: “Everybody now is getting vaccinated and finally doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
Asked one thing she wanted her patients to know, Gulley said she hoped they would exercise. She also provided an assessment of what PFC does that other clinics like it don’t. “We love people here. We’re always taking new patients. We’re very flexible . . . we like to help you in any way that we can.”