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Meet Sam McCluskey, Nurse Practitioner

She’s seasoned with just enough spice to take a sudden heavy influx of sick patients with a chuckle and a strong cup of focus. She’s the first in her family to choose the medical field and much like many things in her life, she’s done things her own way. Meet Samantha “Sam” McCluskey a Nurse Practitioner treating patients at FHW Urgent Care clinic these days.

“I became a nurse practitioner by accident,” Sam said.

Sam McCluskey making patient notes with more patients waiting in the lobby of FHW Urgent Care needing to be seen.

She started her study for a master’s degree with a focus on critical care clinical specialist at Case Western Reserve University in 1994 and discovered when she got there, the school was piloting a new nurse practitioner role called ‘Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP).’

“I was immediately intrigued and asked to be enrolled in this new program,” she said. “I finished both the ACNP and the critical care clinical specialist master’s degrees simultaneously. And, at the time I graduated, there was no certification exam written nor a study guide.”

Certification requirements have changed much but Sam considers herself lucky to be grandfathered in and able to treat patients of all ages. She furthered her education and completed a Doctorate in Nursing in 2015 to expand her practice and knowledge base to improve the overall patient experience.

“I very much still, after all these years, enjoy my interactions with patients and their family members. The art of taking ‘pieces of a puzzle’ and putting them together to make a diagnosis and patient-specific treatment plan is what I love most,” Sam said. “My strength is being able to connect with everyone.”

She describes herself as having been a hardwired Emergency Medicine and Trauma practitioner for her entire career and she has loved all of it! However, as health care changes, her ability to directly connect with patients, which is what she does best, the challenges are defeating as a caregiver. Practicing medicine has changed in so many ways over the years and mostly for the better, but removing some of that personal touch is not for the better in Sam’s experience.

Sam described one of her greatest strengths as being an excellent diagnostician so it’s been a rather natural transition for her into the new FHW Urgent Care Clinic. It’s been great, she said, allowing her to care for many of the same patients without the demands of the high-intensity emergency department culture. Sam describes urgent care as a much-needed service to the community for those acute complaints that fall somewhere between family practice and the emergency department, allowing patients to be seen and evaluated quickly.

Asked about her thoughts on being part of the Family Health West family, she said, she finds it refreshing to be a person, a voice, and a provider whose actions, ideas, and opinions matter and are heard. She went on to say, patients are genuinely happy to be seen and have been very grateful for the new service we are providing our community.

FHW Urgent Care Clinic is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., including most holidays (except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s). They do not make appointments but rather see patients on a first-come, first-serve basis. FHW Urgent Care is located at 401 Kokopelli Blvd., just off the southside Fruita onramp to I-70, next door to the FHW Primary Care clinic. For more information about FHW Urgent Care visit https://fhw.org/services/urgent-care/. Together we flourish!

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