Enriquez seeing patients at Spohn Medical Clinic

Sue Fleming, The Freer Press

For almost a month, nurse practitioner Susie Enriquez has been busy performing duties at the CHRISTUS Spohn Medical Clinic in Freer, a position she had been looking forward to filling upon the retirement of physician assistant Gordon Greentree in mid-September.

Three days before training was to begin, Greentree was involved in an automobile accident and is continuing to recover from sustained injuries.

Though Enriquez had never been in the Freer clinic before, she arrived and had to do what needed to be done, without direction of the former physician.

"I knew I had some tough shoes to fill so I just showed up that Monday morning and told Chela to point me in the right direction," she said. "I saw about 19 patients that first day."

Enriquez said she had previously worked with nurse Chela Maldonado in an Alice hospital emergency room years before.

"I'm glad to be working with Chela again - we go back a long way and I feel like I've come full circle with her," she said smiling. "We all work well together here."

A native of Falfurrias, Enriquez graduated in 1978 from high school and was employed for a doctor afterward for years.

"Growing up, I always wanted to one day become a doctor or a nurse and so that's what I did. I eventually went to college and became a nurse," she said.

In 1990, she earned an associates degree in nursing from Del Mar College in Corpus Christi and also a bachelor's degree in 2000.

She earned her nursing practitioner masters degree in May 2007.

As a nurse practitioner, she is able to perform a variety of medical procedures such as blood tests, suture simple lacerations and write prescriptions.

"There's some complicated patients that come in and also there's lots of kids that are brought in," she said. "I'm still basically trying to pick up where Mr. Greentree left off."

Enriquez says she plans to be able to provide gynecological exam services for women in the future when the necessary equipment is obtained.

"This is a real need here - women won't have to drive way out of town to have exams," she said. "It's important to have them annually, regularly."

As for now, Enriquez says she is excited and enjoys working in a small, slower paced community.

"People here have been receptive, have welcomed me, and I've enjoyed just sitting down, getting to know them," she said. "And I'd like to continue working here for years to come - that would be nice."

She and her husband, Vicente, reside in Alice and they are the parents of five children ages 28, 26, 15, 11 and 9.