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A Place to Call Home

JPS Health Network, Northeast Medical Home, Caroline Ndirangu

Healthcare – a place where patients seek help, comfort, and guidance. The carousel-like doors are forever turning as physicians, nurses, and support staff work to keep up. Healthcare can be demanding, but in our network, we are always ready, and we are proud of that.

Being a team member here at JPS Health Network extends far beyond showing up, clocking in, and doing your job. At JPS, we value passion, commitment, and sensitivity. We want to touch patients' lives, not just bandage them up and send them home.

So, why JPS? What makes this building, these people, this system so unique? For Caroline Ndirangu, Licensed Vocational Nurse, it was the start of her journey in the network as a patient.

As a Kenyan native, Ndirangu knew the accessibility to resources there was minimal. Growing up, she wanted to make a difference in this world. She didn't realize her calling, but she wanted to serve someone.

Seven years ago, Ndirangu became pregnant with her first child. She had just moved to the United States as a schoolteacher from Kenya and found herself searching for adequate healthcare. After being denied Medicaid, she was facing hopelessness.

Ndirangu recalled a similar experience in Kenya. She felt scared as she experienced her sister's labor. Her sister had experienced pregnancy alone, and when it came time to give birth, it was just the two of them. With restricted resources, healthcare included, her sister had minimal options.

“I would go back and tell myself, 'You may have gone through a lot of hardship, but if you are persistent, you can make it anywhere in the world,’ Ndirangu said. “I would tell that little girl that anything is possible.”

“The midwives in Africa have a lot of experience. They knew what to do, and they were able to help deliver the baby. In that experience, I was so helpless. That's when I knew I wanted to be the person who can help someone when they need it most,” said Ndirangu.

Ndirangu was introduced to JPS at this time. Knowing that this could be her final option for neonatal care and safe pregnancy, she moved to Texas from Idaho. After beginning her care journey with JPS, she felt encouraged, safe, and heard. The all-too-familiar feeling of childhood fearfulness began to disappear.

“The nurses were caring. They were helpful. That was the impact I wanted to make on someone else,” said Ndirangu.

Through the care she was receiving as a JPS patient, Ndirangu found her calling.

“Having been there myself, seeing patients grow along their journey brings a lot of joy. That was my affirming moment. I knew that this was what I wanted to be – a nurse. This is how I want to be impacting the community around me,” Ndirangu said.

There is one individual who is a testament to Ndirangu's journey through JPS. During her pregnancy, there was one nurse that she can recall going above and beyond for her care. From constantly checking in on Ndirangu to buying her daughter a gift on her arrival, Ndirangu remembers this nurse as her final push towards pursuing the career.

Six years ago, Deborah Walker, Licensed Vocational Nurse, was this nurse.

“I was just doing what I was supposed to do. She was scared and new to all of this, and I just wanted her to know someone cared,” Walker recalls.

JPS Health Network, Northeast Medical Home, Caroline Ndirangu

Her goals were far exceeded, and Ndirangu did not just feel cared for; she felt moved by Walker's care. Walker remembers Ndirangu as a patient, noting that there was just something about her.

“I never thought we would cross paths again, but when she came to train with me, I was astonished. It was only my first year with JPS, and I had never imagined I could make that kind of impact on a patient. The feeling is indescribable,” said Walker.

From teaching in her early life to restarting school in a new country, Ndirangu's dream never wavered.

“When I came to the United States, I was given access to resources. Suddenly, there was access to funding that you could get from the government to go to school. Immediately, I said yes. I could not pass up this opportunity, so I started going to school for my LVN,” Ndirangu said.

During her schooling and residency, she held close to JPS and Walker's impact on her. She wanted to return to a place where she could treat people of all backgrounds and make them feel like individuals, much like the pairing did for her.

“Everyone looks different: the patients, the team, the families. We all come from diverse backgrounds. I found it very important that caregivers see the value in that and treat people accordingly,” said Ndirangu.

Once it came time for job searching, only one option made sense. Beyond finding a teaching hospital, Ndirangu was also searching for a place to call home.

“JPS is one of the strongest teams because everyone works in one way or another. Everyone is giving their maximum effort, and at the end of the day, we all come back together, finding joy in one common goal,” Ndirangu said.

After facing adversity, Ndirangu found a home within JPS. She was brought back to a place that kept the door open for her when no one else would. She was brought back to Deborah Walker, whom she works alongside at Medical Home Northeast Tarrant.

“Working with Caroline is extremely rewarding,” said Walker, “I get to witness firsthand how far she has come. Knowing that I have impacted her to become the kind of nurse she is makes me beyond proud of myself and her. She has a very bright future ahead. Her journey through JPS is a beautiful story, and I am glad to share it with her.”

This was a full-circle moment for Ndirangu. As a young girl, she never dreamed of achieving anything like this.

“I would go back and tell myself, 'You may have gone through a lot of hardship, but if you are persistent, you can make it anywhere in the world,’ Ndirangu said. “I would tell that little girl that anything is possible.”