Archer, Florida, is a quiet little town about 15 miles outside of Gainesville. There is one stop light and two gas stations, and many of the streets remain unchanged since the town’s founding in 1850. The University of Florida College of Nursing has been an integral part of this Archer community, starting with community health nursing student rotations back in the 1970s.
In 2001, the community had been without a medical or health-care facility for more than three years. Poverty, a lack of preventive health care and scarce transportation contributed to high rates of death and chronic disease in the area. Residents turned to UF to for assistance, and it was no surprise that Gator Nursing stepped up to the challenge.
In 2001, the college envisioned a dream to bring quality health care to a local community in desperate need of affordable primary care and mental health services for its underserved residents. Archer Family Health Care, or AFHC, was born and has become a national model for nurse-led practices, providing over 6,000 patient visits a year and giving valuable learning experiences to nursing, pharmacy and medical students.
But numbers don’t tell the whole story. Behind those 6,000 patient visits are people who have developed relationships with their providers, staff and students at the practice. Patients whose entire families have benefitted from the nurse-led practice that entered the community 16 years ago.