September 1, 2003 - Everett Herald: Ecuador RPCV Wendy Imberg works as Nurse Practitioner at well baby clinic

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Ecuador: Peace Corps Ecuador : The Peace Corps in Ecuador: September 1, 2003 - Everett Herald: Ecuador RPCV Wendy Imberg works as Nurse Practitioner at well baby clinic

By Admin1 (admin) on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 - 8:57 am: Edit Post

Ecuador RPCV Wendy Imberg works as Nurse Practitioner at well baby clinic

Ecuador RPCV Wendy Imberg works as Nurse Practitioner at well baby clinic

Keeping babies well
Valley General Hospital finds success caring for the growing number of babies whose parents don't have regular doctors.

By Sharon Salyer
Herald Writer

MONROE. WASHINGTON -- Nurse practitioner Wendy Imberg whispered into the ear of 4-month-old Laura Isabel Ayala Vargas, whose furrowed eyebrows and slight frown seemed to signal her worry that her mother was momentarily out of sight.

"Laurita!" Imberg said, using the Spanish diminutive. "Gracias, Laurita."

Imberg brimmed with delight, hoping to hold the infant's attention as she bent over to check her on an exam table.

Laura's mother, Laura Vargas, and two aunts had brought her to the well baby clinic at Valley General Hospital for a checkup. It was the toddler's fourth visit to the clinic since she was born at the Monroe hospital.

The weekly well baby clinic opened in July 2002 to help fill a growing gap in east Snohomish County -- medical care for children from birth to age 2 whose families don't have a regular doctor.

Despite being open for more than a year, a lot of people still don't know about the clinic, Imberg said.

Questions about nutrition, colds, earaches, diarrhea and fevers are routine for mothers coming to the weekly clinic, Imberg said. But she also has identified children with serious medical issues, from potentially life-threatening cases of pneumonia to a child with a birth defect.

Children can contract pneumonia when they are just a few days old, requiring the child to be immediately admitted to a hospital.

"That's a scary one," Imberg said.

Imberg and medical assistant Stephanie Rios both speak Spanish to assist the area's growing number of Hispanic families, which census figures show grew from 3.6 percent of Monroe's population in 1990 to 9.7 percent in 2000.

About 10 percent of the babies born at the Monroe hospital come from Spanish-speaking families, spokeswoman Martha Dankers said.

The clinic also has treated children from Chinese, Vietnamese, Hmong, Laotian and Ugandan families.

To qualify for the well baby clinic, residents must live within the public hospital district's boundaries, which takes in the Snohomish, Monroe, Sultan and Index school districts.

Services, including childhood immunizations, are offered on a sliding-fee basis. Medicaid coupons are accepted. No one is turned away due to lack of money.

Since it opened, the clinic has treated more than 400 youngsters, with an average of 11 babies seen each week.

Valley General Hospital has spent about $20,000 for supplies and the salaries of the clinic's three-member staff. Medicaid and payments from patients have allowed it to break even, Dankers said.

Imberg learned Spanish while serving in the Peace Corps, working on rural dairy farms in Ecuador in the mid-1970s. In 2000, she spent three weeks on a medical mission to Guatemala.

Imberg said she hopes that outreach and education services can be added to the clinic, such as a parent group that could provide information on stimulating babies to help them succeed in school.

Reporter Sharon Salyer:
425-339-3486 or

Well baby clinic

A well baby clinic at Valley General Hospital in Monroe serves children birth to age 2 whose families have no doctor. The clinic is open 8 a.m.-noon every Wednesday. Call 360-805-6643 for information.

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Story Source: Everett Herald

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Ecuador; Nursing



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