Goodwill’s Nurse-Family Partnership currently includes over 60 nurses and nurse supervisors who serve at-risk women and their families across 29 central and southern Indiana counties. When first implemented in 2011, there was a single team of eight nurses who served families living in Marion county. Marilynn Berry-Stamm was the first nurse to join that team.
“When I look back at where we were in 2011, I never imagined it would be like this,” Marilynn said. “Back then, there were no programs that served the needs of those with lower incomes in the way NFP does - with registered nurses visiting in the home for more than two years. People didn’t even know what Nurse-Family Partnership was.”
Marilynn has spent 45 years working in maternal-child health. Starting her career in the newborn nursery with Indiana University Health/Clarian Health, now IU Health, Marilynn has served in a variety of clinical roles. She also has experience as a home-visiting nurse with IU Health’s Home Connections program, where moms and newborns were provided with a one-time wellness home visit within the first week of delivery. In 2011, the program was discontinued due to budget cuts, and Marilynn found herself looking for something new.
“I heard about this new home-visiting program that was going to be implemented in Marion County,” said Marilynn. “I was told it would be a great opportunity for me to explore.”
Soon Marilynn joined the first Nurse-Family Partnership team, something she calls one of the greatest blessings of her life, aside from the birth of her children.
“Working as a home-visiting nurse is very different than working in a hospital,” she said. “My favorite part of the work is our clients — they are amazing; they’re survivors. I consider it an honor that they allow us into their homes and their lives.”
Even though establishing that connection and building relationships with clients is one of Marilynn’s favorite parts, it’s important to her that the same happens between nurses, too.
“Nurses have such a strong voice and a power that we don’t realize,” she said. “One of the best ways we can advocate for ourselves, our clients and our program is to not lose our collective voice.”
Part of that continuous advocacy is the work done by Goodwill behind-the-scenes, without visiting clients. It’s something Marilynn wished she knew more about when she started and something she thinks all nurses need to see.
“I had no idea about the business and marketing end of our program when I first started,” she said. “The Nurse-Family Partnership team at Goodwill makes it as easy as possible for me to do my job. It truly is a team effort to serve these families, and I’m so grateful I get to be a part of it.”
Learn more about Goodwill's Nurse-Family Partnership program by visiting goodwillindy.org/health.