Local nurse moves down the street to Coastal Health Alliance

06/22/2017

A nurse practitioner and West Marin native is moving from one Point Reyes Station health clinic to another. Carrie Chase left the West Marin Medical Center in March, and will start full-time work at the Coastal Health Alliance, where she previously worked for seven years, in September. “We’re really looking forward to it,” said Steve Siegel, C.E.O. of the health alliance, which has struggled to retain staff in recent years. “She has a lot of history here and people stop me on the street and say they’re excited to set up an appointment with her.” Ms. Chase, an Inverness Park resident whose strong sense of social justice has led her to deliver medical supplies to Ecuador and join medics at Standing Rock, began working at the medical center five years ago. She had been invited by Dr. Colin Hamblin—who also migrated from the Coastal Health Alliance, where he worked with Ms. Chase—after the death of Dr. Eileen Gleber. She says she’s excited to return to what she calls C.H.A.’s “wrap-around service,” in which patients receive many forms of care, from medical to psychiatric, dental and more. As a nurse practitioner, she sees part of her role as linking nurses and doctors. “Nurses are protectors; doctors are investigators. Nurse practitioners bridge those constructs,” she said. “We use the protector part to be safe with complicated cases, by consulting with physicians or other knowledgeable peers.” Ms. Chase was 2 when her family moved to West Marin from Virginia; after graduating from Tomales High, she studied language and culture at the University of California, Santa Cruz and worked for Planned Parenthood before completing a master’s program in nursing at the University of California, San Francisco. She said her family doctor, Michael Whitt, who founded the West Marin Medical Center, was a big inspiration. “He modeled really knowing your patient and seeing the patient in their environment. He taught me the importance of coming from solid, clear thinking, and empowered me about knowing when to refer a patient to a different type or level of care,” she said. Dr. Whitt retired from the center in 2015, but Ms. Chase jumped at the opportunity to work with him in 2012. (In the years between her leaving the Coastal Health Alliance in 2008 and taking a job at the medical center, Ms. Chase worked as a critical care burn nurse and nurse practitioner students at two San Francisco hospitals.) What motivated the move across town? The center, which was purchased by a network of health centers called the Marin Healthcare District in 2010, has been unable to provide regular hours for part-time nurse practitioners. Ms. Chase is working as a fill-in provider at the health alliance for the summer before assuming full-time work in the fall.