Laurie Walker likes getting to know her patients as people
posted on Monday, August 31, 2020 in
WATERLOO – Laurie Walker is not only there for her patients when they are in need, but she has stayed in contact, mostly through annual Christmas cards, with many of her patients dating back to 1989.
“It’s been wonderful,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of wonderful people, co-workers and patients.”
Her kindness and devotion has landed her among the Top 10 Nurses in the Cedar Valley for 2020.
“Laurie is a role model for having a positive day, and taking time to get to know patients as people – their stories, family, experiences,” said co-worker Julie Grosser.
Walker, an acute rehab nurse at MercyOne Waterloo Medical Center, has devoted her entire career to nursing in Waterloo.
Originally from Minnesota, Walker moved to Iowa in 1983 and graduated in 1988 from nursing school at Hawkeye Community College. She began her nursing career at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, now MercyOne, where she has worked as a registered nurse in the acute rehab department since 1995. She has shared her expertise by training new patients as a preceptor since 1991.
“Laurie will sing with a patient, laugh and cry with them,” said another co-worker, Rose Quirk. “She is there for each patient.”
Walker ensures her colleagues also are recognized for their hard work by organizing card signings, potlucks and gatherings to “show people they’re important.”
“I can’t believe I’m so lucky to have a job that I love,” she said, noting she has wanted to be a nurse since the third grade. “If you can leave at the end of the day and know everyone of your patients are happy, then it makes my day so much better.”
Walker’s advice to new nurses is to take advantage of any opportunities along the way. “They might take a little bit of time out of your day, but it makes a world of difference to the patients.”
Walker also has served as a trainer for new computer systems at MercyOne and Sartori.
She has two sons and seven grandchildren she loves to spend time with, including vacations with her siblings in northern Minnesota. She enjoys reading and fishing as well as sewing. Walker has made more than 200 masks for family, friends and co-workers during the coronavirus pandemic, many adorned with her favorite teams, the Iowa Hawkeyes and Minnesota Vikings.
“I’m of retirement age, but I don’t want to retire, so I’m still here,” she said. “I like my job. It’s kind of the fabric of who I am.”
By Kristin Guess, Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier
- Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier