‘Build this network’: Mobile clinic brings healthcare to rural communities

FAIRFIELD, Wash. — Not everyone has access to healthcare, so a community partnership is filling the need.

The Range Community Clinic and Washington State University are bringing care to rural communities.

In the small town of Fairfield, it was hard to miss the big white bus rolling down Main Street on Thursday afternoon.

“We do well child checks, sport physicals, vaccinations,” said Dr. Sam Schneider. He’s the program director and chief medical officer for the Range Community Clinic.

Dr. Schneider offers this kind of care and more from inside his community clinic. After he parks the bus, it’s time to set up shop.

“It’s really incredible how many places like the town of Fairfield really have no medical care,” he said.

Fairfield lost its doctor and pharmacist recently. Now, this doctor’s office on wheels will be in town every Thursday. When the clinic isn’t physically there, healthcare still is.

“We can’t be here all the time, but maybe we can do it by telemedicine,” Schneider said.

The goal is to connect people with care because where you live shouldn’t be a barrier. Washington State University nursing students are seeing that first hand.

“There’s a nurse shortage, so I want to help out as much as I can in the community,” said Shreya Patel. She’s a WSU nursing student who was working at the mobile clinic on Thursday.

This partnership is giving students the chance to put what they’re learning in the classroom to work.

“What you read in a textbook is now actually happening,” said Anna Syverson, a WSU nursing student who’s also working at the mobile clinic.

“They’re going to help do vital signs and vision screenings and education for the kids,” Schneider said.

Fairfield is now a starting point for hands on learning and a stopping point for a doctor’s office on wheels, but in the future, they want to expand and serve more rural communities.

“The mission is really to build this network of medical services that are for all of Washington,” Schneider concluded.

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