Stockholm family made for medicine

9 years ago

  STOCKHOLM, Maine — When Travis Bouchard was 15 years old, he dissected a moose heart on his mother’s kitchen table.
Eleven years later, Bouchard, now a student in his third year in University of New England’s osteopathic medicine program, has moved on to human anatomy but credits those early dissections and conversations with two older generations of Bouchard health care workers with sparking his passion for medicine.

He is following in the footsteps of his grandmother and family nurse practitioner Millie Forbes, his mother and certified nurse midwife, Bonnie Bouchard, and his aunt and registered nurse Lynn Turnbull, all of Stockholm.
“Having them all as family members really gave me exposure to the field of medicine,” Travis Bouchard said by phone during a break in his course work last week.
Bouchard’s journey into the health care field was set decades ago, when Forbes was working as anursein what was then Cary Memorial Hospital in Caribou.
“You wake up one morning, and you are sitting at a desk, and you realize you are a nursing director in administration,” Forbes, 80, said last week as she and her daughters sat at her kitchen table. “You realize you don’t enjoy it [because] you want to be out with the patients but are being discouraged from doing that.”
That was in 1976, and with the full support of her family, Forbes decided she would go back to school to obtain her family nurse practitioner licence from the University of Southern Maine.
Those were very different times, Forbes recalled, and when she returned to northern Maine in 1978 with her family nurse practitioner license in hand — the first one in Aroostook County — she said she was met with some resistance.
“People did not know what [a family nurse practitioner] was,” she said. “I could write prescriptions, examine and treat patients, [and] that was a whole new thing having a nurse able to do that, [and] I got a lot of ‘Who are you?’ ‘What are you?’ and ‘What are you going to do?’”
But Forbes was no quitter and eventually overcame gender and professional bias to earn a position at the Veterans Administration clinic in Caribou and as head of the health clinics at University of Maine at Presque Isle and what was then Northern Maine Vocational Technical Institute.
Caring, dedicated, bright and driven. That was the example Forbes set.