Diane Nightengale award

by Dr. Kent Petrie
When Diane Purse joined our provider staff at Eagle Care Clinic (now Mountain Family) in 2004, our care of children took a “quantum leap.” Her outstanding clinical skills were evident from the start. I have always considered her the best “pediatrician” in our area. When she asks me for advice, she already knows the answer and simply needs my “blessing” on her plan. Families recognized this immediately and her practice quickly filled with patients ranging from challenging newborns and children with chronic medical problems to acute care emergencies and sassy teenagers. Every day Diane is faced with incredibly challenging medical and social problems in our pediatric patients. She handles them all with great skill, patience and a calm and reassuring manner. It is no surprise that she has developed such a devoted following of patients and parents who will miss her in retirement. 

I call Diane the “Queen of Collaboration.” She has worked with nurses in our local emergency rooms, urgent care centers and inpatient ward to upgrade their skills in the care of critically ill children. She has been an important link between our clinic and the pediatric hospitalist and neonatal nurse practitioner programs at our local hospitals, as well as Public Health programs like the Nurse Family Partnership, building bridges of communication and care. She is highly respected by and is on a first name basis with numerous consultants at Children’s Hospital in Denver and has developed the “Best Referral List in the World” which she will graciously leave behind for her colleagues to use! Diane’s skills were recognized by the state of Colorado in 2008 when she received the prestigious Nightingale Luminary Award, our state’s highest nursing honor. In my nominating letter I wrote, “I think I’ll contact my friends at the University of Colorado Medical School and arrange for them to present Diane with an honorary medical degree. Then, after she is selected for the Nightingale Award in 2008, I’ll nominate her for physician of the year in 2009!” 

Diane took her pediatric skills “on the road” in 2014 and 2015, accompanying me on medical missions to Honduras. In remote villages she cruised through 50+ patient days with great enthusiasm, demonstrating the best of her Spanish language skills and cultural sensitivity. She has a true heart for mission work whether in Eagle County or Central America.  

Diane has always been generous in taking time to share her knowledge with her medical assistants and nursing students that spend time in our clinic. She is a perfect role model for life-long learning. Through the years she has launched dozens of our staff to further their education to become Registered Nurses and Physicians Assistants. This will truly be Diane’s legacy. She can retire with the assurance that she has left her indelible mark on the future of medicine, inspiring the next generation of caregivers. We will truly miss Diane in retirement but send her on her way with gratitude and a heartfelt “Vaya con Dios!”

by Matt Percy, MD

I am grateful for Diane as an advocate for the kids who may need it the most. She has worked extremely hard over the past several years to set up local outreach from expert developmental specialists in Denver. This is a great benefit to our patients and their families who otherwise might face years long waits and the expenses/difficulties involved with travel to Denver. It will almost certainly lead to earlier access to critical treatment and therapy and these early interventions can make a world of difference in these children’s’ lives. Thanks so much for this and everything else you have done for our patients and community over the years Diane! 

by Claire Graff, PA-C

When I was a new provider, I spent a day with Diane in Edwards.  Sure, she taught me some pediatric pearls and showed me some great resources.  But what stuck with me that day and always will, is Diane’s presence in the room with families. She has a way of setting people at ease, even while the case is formidable, or the news is serious. She makes the family feel that she is on their team and helps parents know exactly how they can help their child. She takes the time to demonstrate important skills, to be playful at the same time as straightforward with the child. With a calm voice and an overtly caring manner, she casts a spell over any exam room. These are skills that the rest of us can only strive to learn and a humanity that we can all recognize as a gift to her patients and colleagues. Diane has given that gift for decades, the value in that is immeasurable. 

by Carol Conger

Diane Purse has been a champion for children’s health and an unwavering advocate for the most vulnerable patients in Eagle County for decades. She has made an immeasurable investment in our community’s future, a contribution whose impact will persists long after she retires. She celebrates the laughter and the crying, the milestones and the challenges of her growing children and their families. She demonstrates tireless commitment to finding every resource available, while flushing out experts and specialists to jump on board with her to miraculously put together a plan of care that is truly extraordinary. Her breadth of care embraces mental health, physical health, emotional health, and dental health for each small child and teenager that walks into her exam room. We will miss Diane terribly; her impact will linger.

by Debbie Burns

Pediatric nurse practitioner- colleague, friend and champion for the care of children. Diane has been a guiding light for the of the pediatric population of Eagle county for over 15 years… she started the Reach Out and Read program at our clinic and pioneered and promoted Children’s hospital collaboration for autism spectrum disorder evaluation in the Vail Valley. She has been an active participant and voice for the Rotary club, Early Child Find and Head Start… Back in the day , I have seen her driving to many patients homes to hand deliver an oxygen tank or bili- blanket that needed to be delivered that very night in order to assure safe patient care. She has dressed up to the delight of the the pediatric population for many a Halloween throughout the years and I think the one that best mirrors who she is was when she dressed up as Princess Diana… Diane Purse we have been so lucky to have our very own Princess Diana with such a huge humanitarian heart right here at Mountain Family Health Centers. You have changed the care of the most vulnerable and you will be missed but never forgotten or replaced… enjoy your next adventure… Love, Debbie Burns (one of the original four musketeers)