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Fast friends: St. Luke's nurses find a bond through work and as drivers on the race track

Jenifer Fulton-Partch and Matt Attebery are St. Luke's nurses who met through work and now are teammates on a racing team based out of Firebird Raceway.
By Chris Langrill, News and Community
May 23, 2024

It didn’t take long for Matt Attebery and Jenifer Fulton-Partch to become fast friends.

They met while Fulton-Partch was enrolled in the St. Luke’s Nursing Apprenticeship Program. Attebery has been involved in SNAP as a preceptor (instructor) for the past three years.

“My regular preceptor was out one day, and I got paired up with Matt, and that’s how I met him,” Fulton-Partch said.

Their friendship blossomed quickly.

“They gave me Jen for a shift and we got to chatting,” Attebery said. “I started talking a little bit about racing at Firebird Raceway, and she just lit up: ‘Oh my gosh, can I come and watch?’”

Fulton-Partch went to the racetrack, and she soon set her sights on be more than just an observer.

Jenifer Fulton-Partch's commuter car is also the car she drives at Firebird Raceway. She said she's worked extra shifts at St. Luke's so she can pour a little money into her car and continue to feed her hobby.

“She came out on her own, then a couple of months later I took her down the track (as a passenger) and she absolutely loved it,” Attebery said. “Then we just worked on her being confident enough to go for it, and then the first time she did it on her own she was hooked.”

Said Fulton-Partch: “He mentored me just like he mentored me at St. Luke’s.”

In time, Attebery asked Fulton-Partch if she wanted to join his racing team, the Melba Outlaws.

“Of course I did!” Fulton-Partch said. “It was one of the best decisions of my life.”

The 2023 racing season was her first full season of racing, and Fulton-Parch was surprised the sport’s learning curve.

“Drag racing is hard,” said Fulton-Partch, who drives a silver 2006 Chrysler 300 SRT8. “It looks really easy, but there’s a lot to it. I’m getting better. … I’ve really improved, because I was having a hard time at first.”

Fulton-Partch said she was especially proud of an eliminator challenge in which she won four races in a row and made it to the quarterfinals. But her favorite moment has been sharing a club championship with her Melba Outlaw teammates last year.

“This whole experience has been amazing,” she said.

Attebery said it’s been satisfying watching Fulton-Partch grow as a driver. It’s just in his nature to want to help others succeed. That’s also the main reason he became involved in SNAP.

Jenifer Fulton-Partch and Matt Attebery met through St. Luke's SNAP program and have since become teammates outside of the hospital.

“I love to teach,” said Attebery, who attended nursing school when he was in his 30s at his wife’s urging. “I have a master’s degree in nursing education and leadership, so I’m always open to take on students because I love them.”

Attebery, who works as a nurse in the Clinical Support Unit, has seen firsthand how successful the program is in grooming nurses for their careers in the health care industry.

“The program has been a complete success,” he said. “Our studies show that a new nurse graduating from college with no information from SNAP, it takes them at least three months of shifts before they can be on their own. … SNAP students, once they graduate out of the program, they’re ready to go in six weeks or less.”

Fulton-Partch works as a bedside nurse in the telemetry unit on the third and seventh floors of St. Luke’s Boise Medical Center. She said working alongside experienced nursing professionals while she was still a student paid major dividends.

“It’s a great program,” she said. “I got so much hands-on experience. When I graduated and started working as a nurse I feel like I was more prepared, a lot more prepared.”

About The Author

Chris Langrill is a writer and copy editor for the St. Luke’s Communications and Marketing department.