As an Emergency Department nurse earlier in her career, Ashlee VanHouten wanted to be able to help people avoid emergency situations by focusing on preventative care in a primary care setting.
Whether at her current employer, Ferguson Rural Health Clinic in DeWitt, or her Health Care Heroes nominating employer, Mid-Delta Health Systems — or at any stop on her career — VanHouten has maintained the preventative approach.
The payoff for VanHouten, a family nurse practitioner, is the chance to help others live a healthy, active life.
VanHouten studied at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, UA Little Rock and Walden University in Minneapolis. In her current position she provides services across the human lifespan, treating both acute and chronic disease.
VanHouten takes on the challenge of breaking down barriers to understand why a person may not be compliant in their treatment regimen. Without knowing the problem at hand, VanHouten says, it is difficult to get past barriers and help people become healthier versions of themselves.
“Often it is something as simple as additional education or working to make medications more affordable,” VanHouten said.
Because of her efforts, VanHouten has had a number of rewarding moments. As first an ED nurse and then a family practice provider, she says she most enjoys seeing a patient who was previously struggling find their path and live a healthy lifestyle.
Whether a person is fighting a mental or physical disease, VanHouten has found that often, just by listening, she can find that missing puzzle piece that makes everything click into place.
She enjoys being able to treat the whole person. Through dental services, mental health services, pharmacy discount programs and substance abuse programs, she has taken advantage of the resources that allow her to better serve her patient population.
VanHouten has also sought additional training in treating opioid addiction to help battle the crisis in Arkansas. She is a member of the Arkansas Nurse Practitioner Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.