TMH Nurse Karen Herman
At age 5, Karen Herman was already telling everybody she knew that she planned to be a nurse someday. Her first hospital job was as a candy striper when she was 13, which affirmed her plan. She later became a nurse's aide before graduating from nursing school at the now-closed Memorial Hospital School of Nursing. Today, she is the dayshift charge nurse for Taylorville Memorial Hospital's Acute Care unit.
Though she took several years off to raise her five children, two of whom pursued nursing careers of their own, Herman has spent more than 17 years working at TMH. She began as an Acute Care staff nurse and also worked in Pediatrics and the ICU. She has been the Acute Care dayshift charge nurse for the past three years.
"I just always wanted to help care for people that were sick - just to help them," she says.
Herman has lived in the Taylorville area for most of her life, as have many TMH clinicians. She said this often can be advantageous to patients, because the nurses are familiar to them. Because she also does outpatient care, she sees patients frequently for weeks at a time and often forms friendships.
"I see them at Wal-mart and they come up and say, 'Oh, I feel so much better,'" she said. "In a small community, you always run into someone you've taken care of.
"It's very rewarding. I like working in a small critical-access hospital because we get to know our patients. A lot are friends and family or repeat patients so you know them."
And because the nursing department experiences low turnover rates, friendships form among staff, too. Herman said she knows every nurse by first name.
She highly recommends nursing as a profession, especially at TMH, and enjoys being able to utilize her years of nursing experience and organizational skills to help new nurses.
"Nursing is a very rewarding career. It's never dull," she said. "You have new experiences every day."
"At Taylorville, you will find a friendly, helpful group of nurses to work with. I think our patients affirm we give great patient care."