At the Maryview Foundation Health Care Clinic, Vonda Raines, nurse practitioner and clinic coordinator, leads by example.
To meet the enormous needs of Portsmouth residents hit hard by the economy, Raines works long hours, balances clinical and administrative roles and is always expanding the clinic’s services. Not only does the clinic see about 1,050 patients a month, its Total Pharmacy Connection provided more than $4 million in free prescriptions in 2012.
“I love seeing patients,” Raines said. “You just grow to love them. Some of my patients I’ve been seeing since the first days I was a student. They’re like family.”
Raines serves as a mentor and cheerleader for her small staff and encourages them to be innovative in how they think and serve their patients.
“She’s very encouraging and doesn’t make you feel stupid, which was a huge thing as a student,” said Jennifer Melillo, the clinic’s only other nurse practitioner.
Melillo began work at the clinic during a rotation as a student before coming on staff. “She’s still my go-to person when I have a question. She has a general knowledge of 99 percent of what I need to know, and she’s really good at guiding me to where I need to go to find out the rest.”
“She has the patients’ best interests at heart, and she will fight for them,” said Melillo. Raines’ goals in building up the clinic mean she is constantly looking for more ways to help, to reach out and to ease the pain she sees each day.
Alex Garvey, Maryview’s administrative director of Mission and Ethics, recalled Raines trying to help a family that had no money for school supplies.
“You see after they paid their monthly bills these parents were left with $24 a month to live on,” Garvey said. “Vonda called our office, and with some community outreach and supplies from within, these children returned to school with new clothes and the supplies they needed, but more importantly, they faced the new school year with the view that this world offers hope.”