May 7, 2019
What it's Like to be an EveryStep Nurse: Trisha Hardy
Trisha Hardy is a natural caregiver. While she didn't always know she wanted to be a nurse, the profession chose her.
"Regardless of what I did, it seemed like I was always pointed back to a nursing career," Hardy, an EveryStep Community Health registered nurse, recalls. "I like to tell people I started the nursing profession when I was young on my parent’s farm where I helped give vaccinations to baby pigs."
From there, Hardy's involvement in caring for others simply continued to grow. In high school, her mother enrolled her in a certified nursing assistant (CNA) course, and she started working at the local hospital.
She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Iowa State University, and went on to nursing school at Mercy College of Health Sciences.
"That’s where I discovered my love for pediatric nursing," Hardy notes. For 10 years, she worked on the Pediatric Unit at Mercy Hospital.
While Hardy enjoyed working with children and families, she was looking for a change from the odd shifts and crazy hours of a hospital setting.
And so, five years ago, she joined the EveryStep Community Health program.
"Many diseases are preventable or can be well-managed so one doesn’t have to be in the hospital," Hardy said. "I found I enjoy educating the community about wellness, early screenings, and prevention. This position at EveryStep turned out to be a great fit."
As an EveryStep Community Health nurse, Hardy works closely with the Drake University Head Start program, a preschool program for children.
Before children start in the program, Hardy ensure they are vaccinated, and that any potential healthcare needs are met.
"I might write a care plan for an asthmatic child and educate the Head Start teacher on how to handle a child in respiratory distress," Hardy says. "Or if a child has a feeding tube I will teach teachers how to properly care for it."
She also spends time traveling to centers and to family homes to do vision and hearing screens on every child enrolled in Drake University Head Start.
Hardy recalls conducting a hearing test for a baby when she first began with EveryStep. The child, who was born in another country, failed the hearing test and was referred to a doctor and audiologist.
"It turns out the baby did indeed have hearing loss," she recalls. "He was eventually able to get a cochlear implant and today is doing very well. Because of the early detection his speech is clear and he is reaching developmental milestones."
Additionally, Hardy educates teachers and parents on health issues, child safety, and nutrition.
When she's not working with Drake University Head Start, Hardy can often be found assisting the EveryStep Community Health team with flu vaccination clinics and wellness screenings.
The team goes to different businesses, schools and organizations in the community to administer flu shots and/or conduct wellness screenings, including blood sugar and cholesterol checks, blood pressure monitoring, and BMI testing.
"We provide counseling and education based on their results," Hardy says. "It’s a nice change of pace working with adults discussing wellness, disease prevention, and getting out to different businesses in the community."
While Hardy enjoys being able to care for both children and adults in her position, she says she couldn't do so without her EveryStep team.
"I'm always astounded by how smart, sweet, and caring my coworkers are," she says. "There are days I’m burned out and my coworkers keep me going. We see the worst and the best of people’s lives plus everything in between. The people I work with are literally getting their hands dirty daily on the frontline. It is empowering."
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