Goodwill Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP) is a maternal-child health program that pairs registered nurses with first-time, expectant parents. Through one-on-one visits, NFP Nurses deliver trusted information to families for healthy births and childhoods until the child turns two. Every spring, Goodwill NFP highlights a nurse who has exceeded their expectations with the “Nurse of the Year” accolade.
This year, Ginny Cushman-Wood (RN, IBCLC) was the recipient of the award. She’s been a vital part of Goodwill NFP for 11 years, starting her career almost at the inception of the program. Ginny now serves families living in central Indiana.
“When I first started, there were only three nurse teams,” said Ginny. “Slowly, we added additional teams. It’s been hard to keep up with all the growth.”
What originally drew Ginny to Goodwill NFP was the program’s commitment to community and public health. She was excited about working one-on-one with families and sharing resources that will build the future they want for their babies.
“I love being able to be a part of a parent’s first-time journey,” said Ginny. “It’s my dream job.”
Ginny values the relationship between the parent and NFP Nurse, a connection formed over two years as the infant develops into a toddler. It’s a position that is sometimes misunderstood.
“Sometimes, people think the program is only nurses imparting information,” said Ginny. “The expecting parent really guides what they want for their life and the child's life.”
To be nominated for Nurse of the Year, Goodwill NFP Nurses must demonstrate leadership, compassion and innovation. Nominees build community within their teams and with the families they serve. For Ginny, receiving the Nurse of the Year nomination was a welcome surprise.
“I collaborate with and learn from so many incredibly remarkable nurses,” said Ginny. “So it was really special that someone nominated me. I felt really supported by my team.”
In the future, Ginny wants to improve her motivational interviewing and listening skills to better connect with the families she serves.
“I feel really passionate about the work – and it's rewarding,” said Ginny. “It challenges me as a nurse to learn more things and improve my practice. There are always ways to grow.”
However, in the present, Ginny is grateful for her experiences as a NFP Nurse. Over her decade-long career, she has celebrated and supported many families welcoming their first child into the world. To her, there is never a dull moment.
“It’s a real honor to do this work because it’s so personal and intimate,” said Ginny. “Most of the families I work with don’t look like me. People let me into their homes and lives and share their lives with me. I’ve grown a lot listening to their stories. It has pushed me to think differently about everything.”