Arna Robins of Dallas, Oregon, has decided to call the San Juan Islands home after securing a position as a new nurse practitioner at Eventide Health.
“The islands have been in my heart since I was a teenager,” she said. “I had relatives that worked for Boeing, and we came up to Washington to visit them frequently. On one of those trips, we came to San Juan Island — it was like nothing I had ever seen. Once I was here, I knew I was home.”
Years later she joined Airlift Northwest. The team came to the islands and spent some time with San Juan Island EMS, an experience that foreshadowed what was to come for her.
Along with feeling confident that she would someday call the islands home, she has also long had a gut feeling that she would someday become a nurse since she was a junior in high school, she said. Robins also grew up with family members who were in the medical field, which influenced her decision.
Robins described Dallas, Oregon as being a very rural area. So rustic and old-fashioned, in fact, that doctors made house calls.
“They always seemed to have the answer we needed in their black bag,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘that’s what I want to do.’”
And that is what she has done now for 27 years after obtaining her first degree in nursing from Monterey Peninsula College in 1994. She later received a BSN in 2009 from Azusa Pacific University and earned her MSN from Grand Canyon University in 2015.
While Robins enjoyed being a nurse, she felt compelled to move beyond that and become a nurse practitioner. It was in April of this year that she achieved those goals by graduating from the University of Cincinnati and passing the Family Nurse Practitioner board examination in July.
No matter her title, one core value has stuck with Robins: establishing meaningful relationships with her patients. Her favorite part of the job is the one-on-one time with them.
“It feels like care on a higher level,” Robins said.
Now that she is getting established at Eventide, those values will be transferred over to her work here.
“I am looking forward to being able to serve our island community on an entirely different level,” she said. “I want to make a positive difference here — to give people a safe place to discuss their health care questions so they can make well-informed decisions.”