The newly renovated Panaca Town Center has some of its first offices occupied. At the end of October, County Community Health Nurse Nicole Rowe transferred the office location from Caliente to Panaca. After a couple weeks of internet and phone lines being installed, the office is up and running and Rowe said, “I couldn’t be happier. I love it.”
Among some of the improvements, is the waiting room. Multiple chairs are lined on one edge of the wall, and a chalkboard from the former elementary school left for the children in the waiting area. An adjacent wall houses literature and brochures on the services offered and children’s books. A check-in window where the administrative assistant is stationed gives it the feeling of an, “actual medical office,” Rowe said.“We were really confined before. Yesterday, we had three to four families, each with kids, and it wasn’t bad to fit them all in.”
The additional space allows for Rowe to better serve the public, as well as offer additional privacy for those who are seeing the women’s health nurse or having other exams. “We asked them to better insulate the walls,” said Rowe.
Rowe said the office is, “more of a central location in the county,” and noted that some of her clients travel from the Geyser Ranch, Pony Springs and Eagle Valley areas. She still travels to Alamo at least twice a month.
Rowe also acts as the nurse for the WIC program, the school, family planning, and now as Caliente’s behavioral health nurse.
Although there are a lot of separate components, Rowe said it helps her be familiar with each clients’ needs, and allows to keep the children in the county immunized for school. “They might come in for one thing, and we can go ahead and immunize them for school as well.”
The overall immunization percentage in the school has gone from the mid to high thirties to close to 90 percent. She conducts the vision and hearing screening, and tests for scoliosis and tuberculosis. The county nurse also assists with care plans for special medical needs. “There are 996 students and eight schools in the county,” she said.
Many of the services that Rowe assists with are for the community, the wellness and overall health. The supplemental nutritional food program “provides families with a lot of nutrition.” Family planning offers pregnancy tests, and an Advanced Practicing Nurse to provide other female exams.
Flu shots are also given during the season. “Flu shots should be available to everyone, regardless of their income or qualifications,” Rowe said. Although there was no flu POD this year, where mass amounts of flu shots are distributed from a location, she said, “I’m here for the community.”
The new Panaca Town Center is located along 1005 Main St. The nurse’s new number, on the same system as the County Courthouse, is 775-962-8086. Although walk-ins are welcome, calling in advance will ensure the nurse’s availability and appointments are appreciated, as scheduling is subject to change.
Rowe said, “Thanks to everyone for helping transfer us, it was a big undertaking.” She also thanked the men who built the office. She said, “It used to be a school classroom, it doesn’t look like that now.”