Char-Koosta News

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Tribal Health welcomes new Community Health nurse

Registered Nurse Sonny Rae Grant joined the Tribal Health Department medical staff in early August and serves as the Community Health Division Nurse in Arlee. (B.L. Azure photo) Registered Nurse Sonny Rae Grant joined the Tribal Health Department medical staff in early August and serves as the Community Health Division Nurse in Arlee. (B.L. Azure photo)

ARLEE — Registered Nurse Sunny Rae Grant recently joined the Tribal Health Department medical staff as the Arlee THD Clinic Community Health Division nurse.

Grant, a member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe of Fort Washakie, Wyoming, began work August 6, said she is busy getting to know her new patients and the people she works with as well as the clinic operations.

“I am very thankful to be working her and I am looking forward to meeting the people of the area,” she said, adding that she lived in the area as a youth when her father, attorney Rob Hunter, worked for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. “Everyone here (at the clinic) has been very helpful getting me acquainted with the people that use the clinic. They are making sure that I am comfortable here.”

“We, at Tribal Health, welcome Sunny Rae and look forward to her engagement and participation in the Arlee community,” said THD Director Kevin Howlett, “and the utilization of her skills to provide comprehensive community health nurse services to our tribal community.”

Grant grew up in the Southwest and graduated from Gallup (New Mexico) High School in 2003. She participated in basketball, volleyball and track all four years of high school and helped bring home state championships in all three sports.

Grant said she didn’t have any familial role models in the medical professions. “We have a lot of lawyers in our family but not any doctors or nurses,” she said. “I got into nursing to provide as a single mom so I could provide stability for my children.”

It is a decision she doesn’t regret.

To begin providing the foundation for her children, Grant attended Scottsdale Community College in Arizona and received an associate of arts degree in 2007. While there she played basketball and volleyball.

In 2008, her mother Frederica Hunter accepted the position as director of American Indian Student Services at the University of Montana. Sunny Rae came north too and enrolled at the University of Montana taking core-nursing classes in preparation for completing a nursing degree at Montana State University College of Nursing. She graduated from MSU in December 2011 with a Bachelor of Science Nursing degree.

The following April Grant accepted a nursing position at the Missoula Indian Center where she remained until accepting a position with Tribal Health.

“Once I got into the profession, doing clinical rotation in a hospital, I realized that this is what I really want to do with my life,” she said. “I love dealing with patients, helping them with their health situations. Building those types of relationships with people is very rewarding. I am in the perfect position to do that here. This worked out well for me.”

Sunny Rae and her husband have six children, ranging in ages from 1 to 10 years. Her husband brought three children to the marriage.

“My life revolves around my family,” she said. “Some of my children are into youth sports so we’re always busy with that and will be for quite awhile.”

Grant and her family live in Missoula, where her husband works; she will commute to Arlee.

Tribal Health: Building Quality Health Care.

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