What it's Like to be an EveryStep Nurse: Jennifer Boeding

Jennifer Boeding knew she wanted to be a nurse for EveryStep's maternal child health programs before she even graduated from nursing school.

Boeding's desire to work with the children and mothers in EveryStep's programs began when she did a rotation at the organization more than a decade ago.

"I fell in love," she said of the organization’s Community Home Visitation program where she did her rotation. "I told myself I was going to work here."

During the month-long rotation, Boeding worked with a nurse and visited with a young mother of twins and another baby on the way.

"I knew right then and there it was going to be the job," she said. "I wanted to help as many people as possible, to see them more than their illness or medical needs."

After graduation, Boeding did a short stint at a hospital in Newton, before a friend told her a position had opened with EveryStep, then known as Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa. 

"There's something different here from a hospital," she says. "In a hospital there's a team dynamic, here you're out, but I've never felt more supported. Someone is always there to help with a client. It brings us really close."

Shortly after joining the organization, Boeding became one of the first nurses in the organization’s Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program.

The NFP program matches first-time parents with a nurse who provides ongoing education and support beginning during the mother’s pregnancy and continuing until the child turns two years old.

"Nurse-Family Partnership drew me," she said. "Liked the evidence-based aspect, the longevity, and the expanded skills and bonding. We get to meet clients on a different level and get to know and teach them."

And that's exactly what Boeding has done for nearly 12 years at EveryStep. While no day is the same for her, she typically has a case load of 25 to 30 clients. She aims to visit 12 to 13 clients each week depending on their schedules.

A typical visit for Boeding involves catching up with her client, checking to see that they attended any doctor's appointments since their last meeting, and discussing a topic of the client's choice, such as breastfeeding, parenting, or labor and delivery.

Once the child is born, Boeding also conducts screenings and home assessments.

"Sometimes plans change," she notes. "Something might come up. We take care of their basic needs and concerns first. It's important for them to know we're not here to tell them how to live their lives. We're there to encourage them, to let them know they can be a great mom."

While Boeding admits that some cases can be more challenging than others, getting to know her clients and making a small impact on their lives is worth it.

Recently, a client thanked Boeding for her help, saying that she wouldn't have been able to continue her schooling at DMACC had it not been for the kind nurse.

"That's just my job," she says. "It's been very rewarding."

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