In Muscatine, the Iowa Department of Public Health’s 1st Five Program, a public-private partnership bridging primary care and public health services, is making a big difference in the community and has the potential to provide successful modeling for many additional Iowa communities.
Sarah Kersevich (MSN ’12) is filling a vital role by serving as 1st Five’s pediatric provider and is witnessing the program’s positive impact up close.
“This is a really exciting care-coordination program supporting providers in detection of social-emotional and developmental delays and family-related risk factors,” says Kersevich. “In its first year, this program has made a tangible difference in the lives of so many children and families in the Muscatine community. I look forward to watching the program expand into more communities across the state.”
Kersevich has also been able to apply her skills and passion for patient care by participating in public health initiatives that aim to improve mental health care for children in Muscatine. She firmly believes that her advanced education, including a master’s from UI’s College of Nursing, has opened many doors for opportunities like this, and the one at 1st Five.
“It is hard to put the role of my education into a few short sentences because it has such a profound effect on me both professionally and personally,” she explains. “I can honestly say that when I go to work I feel like I have a solid base of understanding of pediatric primary care. I have a solid understanding of general pediatric standards, but my education also instilled in me the drive to look into the evidence behind the standards.”
Kersevich chose UI’s College of Nursing, not just because of its history of excellence, but because she wanted a program that would be rigorous yet inspirational. As a nurse, her first priority is to advocate for her patient, and Kersevich says the college teaches this by continually teaching the most current, evidence-based practice to improve health care outcome for patients … “because our patients deserve our best effort and nothing less.”
“My experience in the CON exposed me to so many levels and ‘faces’ of nursing. It’s one of the most beautiful things about the profession, I think, that you can use it is so many ways,” she says. “You can work in people’s homes, in the hospital, in hospice. You can work with children, with people who struggle with mental illness, you can work in public health … the opportunities are never-ending, and I feel like I got a chance to experience that first hand as I went through my internships and clinical rotations.”