NOTE: A shorter version of this paper has also been published on this website.
The Fredericton Downtown Community Health Centre has not always been as big, as comprehensive, nor as connected as it is today. The idea of creating a health centre that was nurse-led and nurse-managed and would increase access to healthcare for vulnerable populations and, at the same time, create opportunities for nursing students and other allied health discipline students to engage in experiential learning, began in 2000. Members of the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Nursing came together to write a proposal for the UNB Community Health Clinic with a mandate to: 1. Increase access to primary healthcare (PHC) for vulnerable populations, 2. Create a living laboratory for various disciplines to engage in experiential learning, and 3. Engage in research to benefit the populations served by the clinic. With federal funding and support of the UNB Dean of Nursing, the Faculty of Nursing Community Health Clinic became a reality. First situated in a small heritage house in the downtown of Fredericton, New Brunswick the clinic has grown to become a multi-disciplinary and collaborative health centre which is state of the art and unique in Canada. The clinic is co-managed by a Faculty of Nursing affiliated nurse and a nurse-manager from the local health authority. In 2015, at a time when the clinic was providing PHC to approximately 1500+ recurring clients, it entered into a new partnership with the local health authority. This collaboration between the university and the health authority laid the foundation for taking the little clinic to the next level where it has been able to grow and build upon its best qualities. The clinic began with a staff of one nurse, one social worker, and one front desk manager and is now a multi-disciplinary facility that includes: nurse practitioners, nurses, licensed practical nurses, an embedded clinician researcher, medical doctors, social workers, occupational therapist, registered respiratory therapists, dietician, community development officer, community access room coordinator, and administrative assistants. We provide care to diverse populations, have students from multiple professional and academic schools completing practicums, and engage in transformative research to improve the health outcomes of our clients.