Christina Pacheco knew she wanted to work in the medical field by the time she was in middle school.
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Christina Pacheco is a certified family medicine nurse practitioner who began working at a family medicine clinic in Socorro in February.

What made you want to work in the medical field?

I knew I wanted to work in the medical field from probably middle school and high school. When I was in college, I actually started off as premed and then for some reason just got a calling that it wasn’t for me and to go into nursing. I did that and I became a nurse in 2016 and that’s pretty much my story.

What’s the most rewarding part of that work?

I think there’s a lot of different ways to answer that question, but what I love most about being a nurse practitioner is really being able to connect with people and spend time getting to know my patients, but also helping them to feel better. I think it’s more than just fixing the physical illness, but also helping mentally, physically and emotionally.

What’s the most challenging part of working in the medical field?

The most challenging part I would say would be the resources or the lack thereof. Getting people who really need to get in to see specialists can take many months when we shouldn’t be waiting that long. Also, insurance companies sometimes dictate what medications we can prescribe, which can be hard, so it has to get a little creative sometimes.

What do you like most about working in family medicine?

I like that I get to see people of all different ages and all different medical conditions. I take care of, usually, kiddos from 5 up to adults and older patients and I see all sorts of different illnesses or diseases or just preventative care. I like that it’s a mix of everything and every day’s just a little bit different, or every patient’s different.

It stays exciting.

It does, and it always keeps you learning and seeing new things and always making sure you’re up to date on all the new evidence.

How do you like Socorro so far?

I really like Socorro. I actually did a lot of my training here when I was in nurse practitioner’s school, so I’m familiar with the clinic and the town and community as well.

Are you originally from New Mexico?

Yes, I was born and raised in Albuquerque and most of my family’s from Northern New Mexico.

I understand you have a specific interest in women’s health?

All of my RN experience was in women’s health. I was a labor and delivery nurse, so I definitely have a passion for that. But, when I decided to become a nurse practitioner, I knew that New Mexico had a big need for primary care providers and I’m really passionate about preventing disease instead of just treating disease, so I knew I wanted to be able to go into primary care. That’s why I chose not to pursue women’s health, but I definitely still have a passion for it and love caring for women.

What makes you passionate about women’s health?

From my experience as a nurse, like I said I was a labor and delivery nurse, not most of my patients, but I would say a good portion of them, the only care that they get is when pregnant. Otherwise, they’re not seeing a health care provider. I’m not saying that’s just to women, but that’s just my experience. I guess what made me passionate about providing care for women is making sure they’re getting care throughout their whole life, versus just when they’re pregnant.

Why do you think people sometimes skip out on regular preventative care?

One, I think access is a big deal. Trying to get in with a primary care provider is really hard, so I think that can be one of the biggest barriers, but I also think sometimes people might not feel comfortable with their health care providers or they’ve had bad experiences in the past with health care providers so they just don’t want to go through that again. So, they try to put it off as long as they can until something happens that they can’t.

So my goal is to try to make all my patients feel as comfortable as possible with me and meet them where they are and not necessarily try to push my opinions on to them, but to make sure they have the education they need to make the decisions that are best for them. I really think those are probably two of the biggest barriers people face when trying to seek preventative care.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do for fun?

I spend a lot of time with my family and my husband. I do enjoy going to the gym and working out, being outside. My husband and I are building a house right now, so a lot of our extra time and energy is going to getting that done. I also like watching Netflix.

Do you have a favorite movie or show that you’re watching right now?

Favorite show would probably be, I love Friends. I’ve watched that several times. I also like The Big Bang Theory. Yellowstone, I really like Yellowstone too.

What’s been the most joyful part of being in this community so far?

I really like that I have developed some really good relationships with my patients that they feel comfortable coming back and seeing me and telling me about, not just their medical history, but their personal history and getting to know what’s important to them as people. I’d say that’s probably the most rewarding part, is getting to develop trust with my patients.