Grant recipient expands infusion services for indigenous and rural residents in Southeastern Utah

Despite a heavy workload as the sole pharmacist at Blue Mountain Hospital, Shane Gurley embraces the versatility of his job. “The coolest thing about rural medicine is the opportunity to do everything. I can practice at the top of my license. In other places, you’re in a box. Here, I’m a Jack of all trades and it’s super fun,” Gurley said. A clinical pharmacist at Blue Mountain Hospital in Blanding, Gurley is a grateful recipient of the Health Care Workforce Financial Assistance Program (HCWFAP).

Shane Gurley, pictured above, is a clinical pharmacist at Blue Mountain Hospital in Blanding, Utah, and award recipient of the Health Care Workforce Financial Assistance Program.

Gurley is bringing health innovation to his corner of Utah. For example, he is working with Genentech, a biotechnology company, to expand the hospital’s infusion services for patients with rare diseases. Prior to offering this service, one patient was driving from Blanding to Salt Lake City once a week to receive an infusion of Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG), a common treatment for early stage bladder cancer. By providing infusion services locally, patients are able to forgo a four hour drive. Gurley’s hope is to improve his patients quality of life and aid in their healing by offering care closer to their homes and support networks. This type of care is especially important for the residents of San Juan County. More than half of Gurley’s patients are American Indian and live with conditions like diabetes, renal disease, and other chronic conditions. 

Gurley’s plans include broadening the scope of services offered at the hospital, and recruiting the help of a pharmacy technician. He has made a profound impact on the Blanding community, and encourages prospective pharmacy students to seize every opportunity available to them, including applying for loan repayment through the HCWFAP.

Blue Mountain Hospital, a Critical Access Hospital in Blanding, Utah, provides comprehensive healthcare services to the residents and visitors of San Juan County and the surrounding areas. Blue Mountain provides medical services beyond what many expect to find in a rural hospital, including dialysis, obstetrics, emergency care, orthopedics, and more.