Healthcare has been my calling since a young age. At age 16, with my sister by my side, I worked as Nurse’s Aide’s in two different nursing homes. I continued this career path until age 20 while taking nursing courses at a Junior College near my town in the Chicago suburbs.
I then transferred and was accepted at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale for pre-nursing. From there, I was accepted and took my ultimate journey to Montana. I finished my BS in nursing from Montana State University in 1980 and went on to get my Masters in Counseling from the University of Montana.
After graduation, I stayed in Missoula and was hired to work in the Pediatric unit at Community Hospital and then at St Pat’s. St Pat’s at that time was the only PICU and PEDS trauma center in Northwest Montana. I had many incredible cases and experiences working on that unit. The death of children from abuse, strange viruses and trauma allowed me to be incredibly in tune to a side of reality most do not experience. I was very young and the impact of these cases stay with me today.
After marrying, I moved to Kalispell where my daughter and twin sons were born. My career as an RN took a turn at that time and I was hired to work at Pathways, a Psychiatric and Chemical Dependency Center in Kalispell. The stories I heard and the many broken souls that were affected by disease affected my vision of wellness and showed me the importance of balance and enjoyment in life.
Eventually, I made my way back to the Missoula area where my kids did most of their schooling and graduated from Frenchtown High School. Because I needed flexibility and schedules that accommodated day care, kids’ activities etc., I found myself with many hats. I worked initially as a Home Health and Hospice Nurse, spent time on the Cardiac floor at St Patrick’s and was then hired as an RN on the Chemical Dependency Unit. I additionally worked in occupational health and was the infectious disease nurse for a couple days a week during that time.
As my children got older I decided to become a Nurse Practitioner and my career took me to Post Falls.
As an ARNP I have worked at Community Health Centers as well as private and rural healthcare clinics. My focus has always been Family Practice but I have also traveled and provided medical care for patients in assisted living, mental health facilities and at private homes.
Spending the majority of my life in Montana, I missed it. For the 10 years I lived in Post Falls I would come back to the St Regis/Paradise area and intermittently contact real estate offices for property that could be a weekend retreat or something that would connect me back to Montana.
Then it happened...I was informed of a position opening in the area and I contacted Dr. Hanson immediately. I am not a stranger to Hot Springs and have enjoyed soaking in the mineral water many times.
Meeting the employees at Hot Springs Family Medicine truly sold me on the position though. I can’t even express in words the heart and compassion the employees here have for the residents of their town. I am so honored to be a part of their mission.