Enterprising medical assistant in Washington County receives stellar award

ENTERPRISE — It was April Terry’s birthday when an email arrived at her workplace, the Main Street Family Medicine medical clinic. The message arrived to founder Dr. Colten Bracken late in the day. After he opened it, he summoned Terry and all other employees into the conference room.

Main Street Family Medicine lead medical assistant works with one of her fellow medical workers, Enterprise, Utah, April 9, 2024 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Of the hundreds of people who work at rural health care facilities in Utah, only seven each year are selected for an Impact Award by the Utah Department of Health and Human Services’ Primary Care and Rural Health Office. Bracken announced to all those gathered that Terry, the clinic’s lead medical assistant and vaccine coordinator, was one of them.

Terry was eager to get home and tell her husband about her birthday present. But with Enterprise being such a close-knit community, Terry said, there was no surprise.

“I got home from work and my husband’s like, ‘You’re all over social media,’” Terry said. “Like every page I turned to, people in the community were reposting it and it went like wildfire for sure.”

Terry was one of three Southwestern Utah health workers among the seven to receive this year’s Impact Awards. The health department describes the awards as going to those who have made a “substantial impact on the health of their communities.”

Also honored were Susan Harris, the nurse manager at Panguitch’s Garfield Memorial Hospital, and Sarah Boone, who directs social services at Kanab’s Kane County Hospital.

Marc Watterson, who directs the health department’s primary care and rural health group, said Terry is a crucial cog not only in Enterprise’s only health clinic but also in the Enterprise Fire Department’s emergency medical services team.

“Terry exemplifies the power of rural by helping ensure critical EMS in Enterprise for the past 10 years,” Watterson said. “She is a crucial part of the health care workforce providing critical primary care services to residents.”

Medical worker sits at her desk in the lobby of Main Street Family Medicine, Enterprise, Utah, April 9, 2024 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Terry, 48, has been an Enterprise resident since age 14 when she moved in with her brother and his wife. Terry held back emotions when she described the influence “these incredible people” had on her career. Her sister-in-law was an emergency medical technician. As Terry watched her, she also wanted to learn to be like her.

“ I knew when I was 14 that that’s what I wanted to do,” Terry said. “I wanted to do what she was doing. I wanted to take care of other people. So their example was a huge role in my life and where I am today. The patience that they had with me taught me to be patient with other people.”

Terry had worked in the operating room at what was then Dixie Regional Medical Center for 10 years, taking the commute down state Route 18. At the same time, she was also volunteering in the all-volunteer EMT team in Enterprise and was also one of its chief trainers.

But then an opportunity developed in her hometown. 

Wrestling up help

Bracken was sitting in an unfinished building without a parking lot surrounded by piles of dirt and was interviewing people for a new health clinic he wanted to open in town. Enterprise wasn’t without medical services — there’s the Enterprise Valley Medical Clinic on 200 East — but the Enterprise native who had risen in the ranks of other hospitals still wanted to come home. That was especially true in the wake of the pandemic.

But he needed help. And that’s when Terry approached him.

Main Street Family Medicine founder Dr. Colten Bracken shares a laugh with Lead Medical Assistant April Terry, Enterprise, Utah, April 9, 2024 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

“At that time I was just still scrambling … I was all alone thinking, ‘I need good help. I can’t do this by myself,’” Bracken said. “And she came and met with me and just said, ‘Hey, I would really love to come be a part of this.’ And I said, ‘Great, because I need you.’”

Terry was also a familiar face in the community. Besides her status as a chief EMT, her brother coached Bracken to a state championship in wrestling.

Bracken said Terry has now been a key part of coaching the clinic and its patients. And she ended up leading the vaccine effort in Enterprise. 

“She’s been incredibly instrumental in getting this clinic started. She was right here from the ground roots up. Honestly, we couldn’t have done it without her,” Bracken said. “The name of the award that she got was an Impact Award, and she has had a huge impact on not only the community but (also) on this clinic and me.”

Main Street Family Medicine’s April Terry, the clinic’s lead medical assistant and vaccine coordinator, sits in her office near her Impact Award from Utah’s health department, Enterprise, Utah, April 9, 2024 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

At first, Terry said she was shocked and humbled to get the award, but after some time, she now looks back on her work and recognizes her effort.

“I did work hard, so I’m going to take it,” she said.

But that doesn’t mean she thinks she’s the only person at her clinic who deserves an award. 

“In the medical field, there’s never an ‘I,’” Terry said. “You don’t do anything alone. You learn from other people in the process of your education and then serving others. So absolutely it’s because of my co-workers and co-workers that I’ve had in the last 20 years of my life, that have trained me, been patient with me and that’s how I want to serve others.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2024, all rights reserved.

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