Hello! My name is Colleen Ihnken. I am a Family Nurse Practitioner in Frisco, Colorado. I am fortunate to work at the Summit Community Care Clinic a Federally Qualified Health Center that serves primarily those less fortunate, uninsured and underinsured. At the “Care Clinic” we utilize a team-based approach which means that I can provide the best possible care to those that I feel deserve it the most. That said, given the high acuity of our clients, their daunting social, psychological and albeit medical needs, the work can be draining. There is a high level of burnout. While I hadn’t lost my compassion, I found myself increasingly more frustrated with the system, pressure to be more productive, see more patients, provide another pill. The social impact scholarship has been a breath of fresh air. I love that with many clients encounters already, only 3 months into the fellowship, I am listening more, asking more open and insightful questions and beginning a path of wellness vs. chronic illness. I am blessed that daily my clients verbalize their appreciation of me and my care. I did not want to abandon them but was also concerned about my own well-being. The Social Impact Scholarship has renewed my hope that I will be able to continue to care for my clients the best that I can.
Now, a little bit about me…I am 55 and ¾’s egad! I feel like I’m 40 but when I look in the mirror I see the years of adventures that have left their map. I’ve had the opportunity to travel the world, circumnavigated with working for Semester at Sea. Adventure racing brought me to Patagonia, Ecuador, New Zealand, Costa Rica and the San Juan Islands. Competing on Global Extremes brought me to the Kalahari Desert, Costa Rica, Iceland, Tibet and Everest. My mother doesn’t know where it comes from but I have always had a competitive spirit and still at this age, my soul needs it. Ultra events continue to feed my soul. Being out in nature for 24-42+ hours the only goal to continue to put one foot in front of the other, eat and take care of yourself and the others you meet. It took 10 years and a significant knee injury set back but ultimately I did complete the Hard Rock 100.
I’m fortunate beyond means, albeit not monetarily. I have been blessed with a supportive husband of 20 years, a son Tarn, now 13 and ¾’ s that “ they had said was not possible” an exuberant black lab Kora who has never met a person she didn’t like, a home and a job that rewards me.