I am the school nurse at Macarthur high school and work at St. Marys where I do admissions and discharges and work in the ER. I was born and raised in Decatur have lived in Decatur most of my life. I have 3 associates degrees from Richland including my degree as a paramedic. I received my Bachelors in Nursing from Millikin University and I am starting my PEL-CSN for school nursing this summer with ISU. I’m a single mom of two kids, Josie and Jack.  As far as pets we have a golden retriever named Duke but we have gotten into “urban farming” and raise chickens, ducks, and geese in our backyard because we love our fresh eggs!

I don’t know that I have had a career fail but I found out very quickly that nurse management isn’t for me while being a single mom. I strive to do my best at my job and absolutely love being a nurse but nursing management takes more patiences and time then I can divide from my kids…. Part of why I love school nursing! its the best schedule for me to be an independent parent and allow my kids to get the full experience of being involved in school activities and explore their interests. Then I get to go to St. Mary’s to keep my nursing skills sharp and have more supplemental income! Plus I love it there I have the best coworkers and nursing and professional mentors at St. Mary’s.

Going to school as a traditional student full time with two kids in tow was my greatest accomplishment. It was the hardest thing to do and I feel like being a nurse really defines me. There is nothing better than being there for someone on their worst day and helping them through it and teaching them how to move forward with a new diagnosis.

I am also a Junior Welfare Association member. JWA puts on many fundraisers and volunteers with many other programs to support the needs of this area. One of my favorites though has been our golf ball drop that funds vouchers for socks, shoes, and undergarments for students identified in need at the school. I also recently volunteered as a buddy at  A Night to Shine, an event that is like a prom for developmentally delayed and handicapped individuals…. it was the most fun! I recently joined the board of directors for The Good Samaritan Inn and I’m looking forward to their fundraiser this month of the Culinary Cookoff! Decatur is such a giving area and there are always opportunities to get involved.

My ultimate dream is to continue on in Nursing with my nurse practitioner with a focus in family medicine. But that will have to wait until my kids are through high school.

That would be my best working woman advise is to do what is necessary to find your balance in life. For me I have always done my best to find positions that best support my life as a single mom, where I can be there for my kids. I have taken grief for asking for things that others maybe haven’t before but finding that balance has been essential for me! I’m not afraid to tell my employer what I need to be successful but at the same time I work hard to show them that my job is just as important.

My favorite things in Decatur is to go out to dinner and the breweries. I am not a fan of chain restrauants and Decatur has the some of the best local options. Gin Mill and Red Barn Kitchen never disappoint. Always fun to have drinks at Door 4 and Brew works with my friends. The other favorite for me is family movie night during nice weather season, at the Devon!

I joined NextGen for the same reasons as I’ve joined everything else. Community involvement. getting to know your community and it’s needs and what it has to offer. This is what gives you a sense of purpose and passion for your community through getting involved!

I nominate Kabedi Mulmede or Kelle Belcher