By Chelsea Place, Pentagram Staff WriterFebruary 14, 2012
For those treated at the Andrew Rader Army Health Clinic Pediatric Clinic, a new face has joined the ranks. Shirley McKenzie, a 15-year veteran of pediatric health, will now serve as a primary care manager at Rader Clinic.
"As pediatric nurse practitioner, I diagnose and see patients from birth, and in this clinic up to 17 [years old]," said McKenzie. "I diagnose common disorders, acute problems such as sore throats, strep throat, colds and treat and manage chronic illnesses like asthma."
"I'm able to see patients … [this] will mean fewer Families have to go to urgent care," she said. "The expectation is that we will expand the number of Families we can serve in this area."
For those Families that are currently enrolled at Rader Clinic or another clinic in the TRICARE north region, McKenzie can now be requested as their children's primary care manager.
Including McKenzie, there is now one pediatrician, Dr. Jeffery Porter, one pediatric nurse practitioner, three licensed practical nurses, one nurse manager and one administrative clerk.
"I just love working with kids. I'm just a big kid at heart," said McKenzie, whose room is decorated with elephants and warm colors, an inviting environment to children and parents alike. "[I like] just seeing all the smiles on the kids' faces and parents feeling reassured or relieved that something isn't as serious as they thought it might be."
McKenzie received all her training from the University of Colorado, graduating from her masters program in 1996. "I always knew I wanted to do something in pediatrics," she said. "Within a few years after graduating with an undergrad degree, I started in the pediatric nurse practitioner track masters program at the University of Colorado."
Since graduating with the degree, McKenzie said she has done mainly primary care, specializing in asthma, as well as working in an emergency department in Colorado.
With three sisters and her parents in the area, the opportunity to work at Rader Clinic was perfect, said McKenzie.
"Everyone -- especially in this Rader Health Clinic -- have been very nice and friendly, and aside from the traffic, I love being in the area," she said.
"I'm excited to be here. It's a great team to be a part of," said McKenzie.