Since 2011, Goodwill Nurse-Family Partnership® (NFP) has paired first-time, expectant parents with a registered nurse for ongoing visits so they can provide the very best start for their children during the earliest, most developmentally critical years. Over 12 years, Goodwill NFP has served over 7,500 families across central and southern Indiana.
Katherine Harkov, one of the program’s first nurse home visitors, witnessed and can recall NFP’s growth firsthand.
“In the beginning, there were four nurse home visitors,” said Katherine. “We didn't have any structure, policy or documentation – no one had been trained on the NFP model.”
The first nurses dedicated time to developing processes, understanding the model and reaching out to the community since Goodwill NFP was new to Indiana. As the foundation of the program settled, four nurses became 24 nurses and three different teams to cover Marion County. Thanks to continuous philanthropic donations and state investments, new portions of Indiana could be covered by Goodwill NFP’s growing teams, such as Clark, Madison and Tippecanoe counties.
“Goodwill NFP kept getting bigger,” said Katherine. “We were adapting processes and creating new partnerships with healthcare systems.”
In 2022, the Indiana legislature invested in all NFP implementations around the state, allowing for the model to be available to first-time families in all 92 counties. This marked a pivotal moment in Goodwill NFP’s history, as the program is currently expanding into 61 Indiana counties to serve even more families.
Katherine has not only personally experienced Goodwill NFP’s growth – she has experienced professional growth as well. Now, Katherine is a nurse supervisor, focused on supporting the nurse home visitors on her team and the work they do with families in Marion County.
“I’m thinking on a new level,” said Katherine. “I can draw on a lot of the experience I had as a nurse home visitor.”
Katherine has also had children of her own throughout her tenure, giving her a new perspective on parenthood and her occupation as a nurse.
“When I first became a nurse, someone asked me what I did for a living,” said Katherine. “I told them I worked as a nurse. They asked me, ‘Do you work as a nurse or are you a nurse?’ I don’t think I was ready to claim it as a part of my identity.”
NFP Nurses not only assess the parent and child’s health, but also their development, well-being and environment. They evaluate barriers that may impact the family as they work toward their goals and build fundamental, heartfelt relationships with families – an aspect Katherine considers the epitome of nursing.
“This job makes me proud of the work NFP Nurses do,” said Katherine. “I’ve been adapting this role into my identity and claiming it.”
There’s more work to come for Goodwill NFP in the future. For now, Katherine admires the program’s impact and celebrates its many accomplishments.
“It's cool to think about the scale of so many nurses working with so many parents – the impact that has, “Katherine said. “I don't think I ever could've anticipated this. It feels like a dream come true.”