Rising to the Challenge

Chantel Collier, MSN, FNP-C (’17), and Ana Taylor, MSN, FNP-C (’17), are well aware of the challenges experienced by rural communities lacking access to consistent medical care. They are rising above the obstacles by actively educating community members about basic resources and measures that can improve their quality of life.

The two Clarkson College graduates own and operate Complete Rural Medicine, a facility in Friend, Neb., born out of their desire to provide health care to vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly and veterans in rural communities. The facility is the result of years of planning and dedication to living their life in service to those who most need it.

Both Collier and Taylor grew up in rural communities in Nebraska and Iowa and moved to Lincoln, Neb., to pursue their undergraduate nursing degrees. They met during their first clinical experience in 2015 while enrolled in the Clarkson College Graduate Nursing program. Both previously considered the possibility of opening their own practice, and their meeting brought that dream closer to reality.


“Chantel and I casually had mentioned it once or twice during our educational experience, but it never really crossed our minds until we were presented with the opportunity to be able to own and build a practice of our own in Friend,” says Taylor.

The small town of Friend is located about 40 miles southwest of Lincoln and is home to around one thousand residents. The location was ideal for a practice because it allowed the nurse practitioners to serve a large portion of the rural population while remaining in close proximity to Lincoln where patients had access to larger facilities and specialists. “Friend was a perfect place to practice because of the partnerships we were able to make with other providers, critical access hospitals and local specialists,” says Taylor.

These partnerships are crucial for rural health care providers who must work with other facilities and providers to ensure that their patients have access to the services they need. Collier and Taylor used the experience and relationships they had built during their careers to create a clinic that would offer the most benefits to their patients.

“Thankfully, our nursing careers allowed for networking opportunities and helpful guidance was available to help us during the planning and development of our clinic,” says Taylor. “It was a lot of long days, long hours and planning, but it has been one of the most amazing experiences we have ever been blessed with.”

To determine which services the facility would offer, Collier and Taylor looked to the community and their patients’ specific needs. “It was imperative for us to be able to meet the health care needs of veterans, geriatrics and local farmers who may find it difficult to see a provider,” says Taylor. Their years of planning and development paid off when Complete Rural Medicine opened in May 2019, providing services in acute, pediatric and geriatric care.

The team met and surpassed their goals within the first six months of opening. “Our goal has always been to meet the needs of the rural communities we serve and to be a resource for our patients,” says Taylor. “This comes in the form of functioning as a clinic that can manage chronic and acute health conditions, establishing ourselves as a Veterans Choice Clinic, caring for patients from zero to 100+ years and initiating a Housecall Program for patients who cannot leave their homes.”

These initiatives go a long way in addressing common issues facing individuals living in Friend and other rural areas, but the team at Complete Rural Medicine continues to see patients who are struggling with basic health care needs and lack the means to purchase medications and home health equipment. According to Taylor, one of the biggest disadvantages patients in rural areas face is lack of resources, information and understanding. “There is a high amount of patients presenting with poorly managed chronic illnesses, either caused by lack of funds for medications, lack of patient understanding or the patient simply isn’t aware they have a chronic illness,” she says.

None of these challenges, however, outweigh the joy the pair experiences when working with their patients. Rural health care allows practitioners to stay with their patients during every step of their health care journey, which is exactly why Taylor and Collier got into the practice in the first place. “Every day is different, and patients are relieved that their health care is patient centered,” says Taylor. “We love the fact that we can sit and visit with a patient for an hour or visit with a patient in their home if we need to.”

The pair will never be able to completely eliminate the challenges their patients face, but Taylor knows they will not stop trying. “We have been incredibly blessed with this opportunity and are excited for the future of the clinic and ourselves.”