The Morehead State Nursing program has a long and storied history of placing highly skilled healthcare workers throughout Kentucky, the United States and the world.
Among those accomplished graduates is Brittany Click, a native of Morehead who earned an associate degree and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 2008 and 2010, respectively, before completing a master’s degree at Eastern Kentucky University in 2013. Now seven years later, the nurse practitioner finds herself nearly 1,500 miles away from home in Chinle, Arizona, a small town of 4,500 with a significant Native American population.
Click is employed by Chinle Comprehensive Healthcare, a 60-bed facility with 40 physicians on staff. While it’s not where she expected to be, she quickly realized it was her calling.
“I really love everything about this job, it’s been a wonderful experience,” Click said. “The relationships, culture and scenery are amazing. I have my own panel of patients that I see regularly. You build relationships and a trust with them as you stick with a plan of care. I feel I’ve had a positive impact.”
As a primary care provider, Click’s many patients include those from the Navajo, Hopi, Pima and Apache tribes—a population heavily impacted by COVID-19.
“Right now, it’s all about slowing the spread through treatment and education. The stress level can be high, but I have a good support system from my co-workers and the administration.”
Click’s work week consists of four ten-hour days. Many appointments are done by phone, which is difficult. She misses the face-to-face interaction because “it’s easier to connect when you can see the person.”
At the facility, there are patients who need urgent care and emergency room access, but it’s very limited. Masks are worn and social distancing is always practiced, even among co-workers.
Of course, the stress tends to be the norm among health care professionals, especially during the current pandemic. To add to the anxiety, Click had been missing those closest to her as husband, Stephen (11), and their two small children, Graham, 4, and Iris, 2, returned to Morehead more than two months ago for safety reasons. Since then, the family has temporarily reunited in Arizona, with plans to fly Stephen and the kids back to Kentucky in early August.
“It’s a big adjustment for all of us. When we’re not together, we still talk before and after I go to work—at least three or four times a day. It’s very different for me because it’s been a long time since I’ve lived alone.”
Through the difficulties, Click says she has no regrets about her decision to work in The Grand Canyon State since moving there in January of 2017. At that time, she and Stephen decided to “do something different.” He soon enrolled at Diné College in nearby Tsaile, Arizona, a four-year tribally controlled institution that serves the Navajo Nation.
Now, Stephen has been accepted into the College of Dentistry at the University of Kentucky and will enroll this fall, so Brittany’s return home may be sooner rather than later. Still, she plans to stay “as long as I possibly can.”
Click counts it as a privilege to serve the Navajo Nation, which she describes as a “strong and wonderful” people. She says her Morehead State education was instrumental in preparing her for the career she loves.
“I would encourage anyone to consider doing what I’m doing right now. MSU laid the foundation and gave me the skills I needed to succeed. Honestly, I wish I would have taken this path straight out of nursing school. It’s all been very rewarding.”
For more information on MSU’s nursing program, visit www.moreheadstate.edu/nursing.
Read about more Soaring Eagles who are on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic.