My name is Tania Barham. I’ve been a nurse for 20 years. I’ve been a nurse practitioner for almost two years, and I’ve worked for ICP about a year and a half. I’m married. My husband’s name is Kevin, and we live in Fort Smith, Arkansas, together. We have five kids and three grandkids, and one on the way in September. We’re new to being empty nesters, and so we’re trying to enjoy ourselves. I started raising some chickens, and we’re gardening.
So I chose to be a nurse practitioner because over my 20 years and the many hats that I’ve worn being a nurse, one thing that I noticed was this pattern of constant readmissions and worsening conditions, not necessarily due to non compliance, but due to lack of education and just a low health literacy about their conditions. I found a degree program at UAMS that was a focus on adult geriatrics with a minor in education. I just wanted to help that adult geriatric population through what I like to call their new norm. I wanted to be able to treat those chronic conditions and be able to provide them with the understanding of their disease process and to be able to care for them long term and try to prevent some of those hospitalizations and worsening of their conditions and further stress in their lives. I chose long term care because I feel like this population is underserved. Geriatric population has always held a special place in my heart. Being in long term, I’m able to really get to know my residents. I’m around them every day. I get to laugh with them and joke with them, and I’m able to see when they start having these slight worsening of their conditions, and then that way I can treat before it becomes worse and end up back in the hospital. I feel like I’m able to treat them in a more holistic approach. I feel like longterm care just encompasses everything that I love about being a provider.
I’ve really grown a lot having this opportunity, so working for ICP has really been a blessing. From the moment that I read that job description that one of my best friends sent me, I knew that it was the right choice. And the support that everybody has given me has been amazing. For instance, when we were dealing with COVID between Ayasha and Cindy, calling and checking on us and seeing how we were doing and making trips from Little Rock to Fort Smith, bringing supplies just to make sure that we were safe, and then just the personal and professional growth, the encouragement of that, like. I called Ayasha a couple months ago, and I was interested in doing getting my wound care certification just to, you know, grow and learn more and be able to better provide care to some of my residents. And, you know, just the support that she gave me with that. And you could tell that she was interested in my growth and really wanted me to do this to help provide that care to those residents in the facility. So you can just tell that she really cares about that and reminded me of the reimbursement and of getting those certifications and education. So hopefully by the end of next month, I’ll have my certification, and I’m pretty excited about that. I love my job. I love being a nurse practitioner with ICP. I love my facility and everyone there and all the other nurse practitioners in our group to bounce things off of. And it’s really been a great experience. It’s been a great year and a half.