KIMBERLY CASTILLO, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, is a family nurse practitioner with over a decade of experience caring for patients of all ages. After receiving her bachelor’s in business administration from Bucknell University, she felt a calling to health care, resulting in becoming a triple Gator Nurse and working at the college’s nurse-led
practice UF Health Archer Family Health Care.
In honor of Archer Family Health Care’s 20th anniversary, Castillo shared what AFHC means to her and what inspires her to serve her community each day.
Q | What is a "day in the life" for you at AFHC?
A | I try and arrive a little after 7 a.m. The quiet of the morning allows me time to review labs, refill medications, complete prior authorizations or answer patient questions. The AFHC team gathers a little after 8 a.m. for “huddle.” We discuss the logistics of the day and our primary care and mental health teams collaborate regarding patients. Someone shares a joke, and there is always a laugh to start the day on a great note.
Each day progresses differently. Some days, I may have a nurse practitioner student with me. There are chronic disease follow-ups, acute visits, walk-in emergencies, well-child visits and women’s health visits. With COVID-19, our days are even busier as we keep abreast of changing protocols, perform COVID-19 testing in our parking lot, gown up and do “curbside” assessments of our sick patients, keep up with new treatment measures and vaccinate our patients. The small moments of the day — celebrating a patient’s personal victory, cuddling a baby during a well-child visit or sharing a laugh with the team at lunch have kept us going during these stressful times.
Q | What does being a Gator Nurse mean to you?
A | I am a triple Gator Nurse, but when I began my studies within the UF College of Nursing, I was a little older than most students. I was changing careers from working in business, and I had reverse culture shock after returning from the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer. I was a fish out of water, and I was scared. The day I stepped through the doors of the College of Nursing building to start the Accelerated BSN program, I was enveloped with the most caring and dedicated faculty members and staff. This culture trickled down to the students and my school family gave me the support and strength to complete my nursing programs. In addition to providing primary care to the patients at AFHC, I also precept students and teach in the DNP program. I strive to return the same love and encouragement that I received to my students. Being a Gator Nurse is not only about academic excellence, but it is also about being compassionate, inclusive and empowering.
Q | What does it mean to give back to the College of Nursing through AFHC?
A | I’m so grateful the college took a leap of faith and opened AFHC to give the Archer and surrounding rural communities access to health care. We have become a trusted part of the community and have helped thousands of people who otherwise may not have received health care. We care for generations of families, and we have become part of their extended family. I don’t take the honor lightly that I have the opportunity to touch their lives, and I work hard to provide the best care.
Q | What is a fun fact people would be surprised by?
A | I can dance a pretty smooth bachata!