Vicki received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire. She worked as an RN all over Wisconsin for about ten years and later got her master’s degree in nursing from Oshkosh. Around this time, she met her husband, David, who was planning to move to Washington State.
After arriving in the Seattle area, Vicki worked for a while as a per diem RN at the University of Washington Medical Center but hadn’t been able to practice as an ARNP yet. She connected with an experienced nurse practitioner named Lori Taylor, who worked at the Community Health Center of Snohomish County – Lynnwood Clinic, along with Dr. Cynthia Taylor (no relation). They were willing to mentor Vicki while working at CHC in a volunteer capacity. Eventually, Lori Taylor left and Vicki was hired on permanently as her replacement.
When Vicki started, there were only three CHC locations: Broadway Medical, Lynnwood Medical, and Colby Dental. The staff was so small that all CHC employees could fit in a small room for meetings.
Things could be a little rocky in the early days. “At times, they had to rob Peter to pay Paul,” Vicki remembers. “And a few times they had to take out bank loans to make payroll.”
The original Lynnwood clinic was behind the Park and Ride and, eventually, they moved into clinic space in Edmonds next to Stevens Hospital. In 1996 CHC opened the new Lynnwood clinic in its current location, which was the first clinic CHC owned outright. Vicki continued to work at Lynnwood until 2006 when she stepped back from primary care and went part-time doing outreach care.
One of Vicki’s favorite memories was Heather LaVergne calling her “the second medical records department at Lynnwood” because of all the stacks of paper charts on her desk that she would get to “eventually.”
The most significant change that Vicki has seen over the years is how much CHC has grown. “We have more services like Pharmacy, Behavioral Health, Nutrition, and P.T., and we extend all up and down the county.”
When asked what has kept her at CHC all these years, Vicki responded, “The mission. I like the idea of patients getting quality care no matter who they are – the variety of patients and the different ethnic groups. You learn about different people and cultures, it’s invigorating! I feel like I am doing worthwhile work. The patients are very tough and resilient even when they have issues.”
The hardest thing for Vicki was stepping away from primary care at the Lynnwood Clinic. However, being able to continue working at CHC at the three outreach sites was a gift. “It is very rewarding. It was perfect.”
Thank you, Vicki, for your years of service and dedication to CHC, our patients, and the community!