There is so much to be said about the high quality of care, professionalism, and leadership that Valerie Carberry brings to the Nurse-Family Partnership. What must be highlighted first, however, is her consistent ability to meet any client, exactly where they are at, at any given time. This is meant both literally and figuratively. Valerie will travel to meet a client in a shared family home, a hospital, a park, a shelter, a WIC office, a McDonald’s restaurant, or a barn, literally anywhere! More importantly however, Valerie meets clients in the unseen places that are the most difficult to inhabit, places with names like: depression, anxiety, substance use disorder, low self-esteem, developmental disabilities, and trauma. Due to her excellent nursing skills and personal fortitude, Valerie is able to meet any mom, wherever she is at, when she brings her first baby into the world. Valerie is the “go to” nurse on our team because no matter how complex a situation may be for a first-time mom, Valerie is always willing to take the referral, achieving positive outcomes for moms and the team. Valerie is a natural teacher and uses the NFP principles to guide her nursing practice. Joining Valerie on a home visit, one can’t help but to notice how she uses every opportunity to acknowledge a baby’s growth and development, as well as, how the mother has supported that growth. Valerie’s exceptional Motivational Interviewing skills draw out thoughtful responses from her clients and affirm their growing strengths as parents. She lifts clients up and inspires them to learn about their baby’s brain development and how they can help their baby explore the world. It is truly a joy to watch this nurse in action.
Valerie is superb at forging relationships. She brings compassion, straightforward honesty, professional boundaries, and humor to the therapeutic relationships she builds with her clients. In addition, she has an excellent reputation for maintaining relationships with case workers and clients during rocky times, often helping to smooth communications and build on clients’ strengths. Valerie works with Jefferson County Public Health’s Academic Coordinator to provide excellent learning opportunities for nursing students and is always willing to collaborate with public health and partner programs.
Valerie came to NFP in the middle of her nursing career, bringing with her a wealth of NICU and Public Health expertise. Her warm demeanor makes her approachable when other team members reach out to her for information or support. Over the years, she has demonstrated her leadership skills by mentoring many new nurses on the team and representing Jefferson and Summit County sites on the Nurse Practice Council, notably leading us through the challenging pre-work for the IPV pilot program here in Colorado. Valerie has remained dedicated to NFP through many agency and program changes, demonstrating professional integrity and mental flexibility. Valerie is a self-described “maximizer,” as identified by the StrengthFinders training, and she does not rest on her laurels. She frequently makes statements such as: “I’m not satisfied; I want to do more.” and, “Let’s think of some new project we can do this coming year. I want our team to shine!” These statements have been followed by increases in weekly home visits and having the highest number of clients attend our annual picnic.
I would also like to acknowledge Valerie’s brilliant contribution to the larger NFP community. She and her clients have been featured in NFP promotional photos and videos and she has been interviewed and quoted by a reporter for The New York Times. Valerie has the unique ability to take out a host of professionals on home visits and put both the guests and her clients at ease. In the past year alone, Valerie hosted multiple professionals from the Colorado Department of Human Services and a visiting Professor of Nursing from Japan. Here is a letter I received following one of these joint home visits:
Last Friday I had the opportunity to go on a site visit at Jefferson County with Valerie Carberry. Before I begin to explain my experience, I think it is important to say that after I returned to the office after the site visit I let my team at CDHS know, “that was the best work day I’ve ever had! If I could get paid to shadow Valerie every day, I would!” …
When I met Valerie prior to leaving the office for the home visit, she welcomed me with open arms and offered to provide a tour of the building and took time to introduce me to other Home Visiting staff. Immediately when I arrived, I felt extremely welcomed and as though my presence was very much wanted, which allowed me to feel more comfortable in a new environment and open to ask questions about services and materials that were available. Valerie even took the time to show the sections of lessons she uses during home visits and to explain various age appropriate topics and how she would conduct a specific lesson during a home visit. Valerie’s knowledge of child development and methodology of how she approaches different (and often times challenging) home environments is astonishing. It is apparent that Valerie combines knowledge, skills, intentionality, compassion and connection when she spends time with the families she works with. Valerie is also extremely intentional in the way in which she approaches situations with families and discussed with me the importance of being present and presenting beneficial information and resources while also keeping in mind that it is essential to not have a “this needs to be fixed” mindset while conducting home visits. Valerie’s supportive nature and overall grace is easily observed during her time with a family as well as when she discussed Home Visiting from a large-scale perspective. During my time at the home visit, Valerie also took intentional steps to guarantee that the mom, the child and I all felt comfortable during the time we spent together. Valerie truly went above and beyond to be sure that the home visit provided a beneficial learning experience while consistently focusing on connection and compassion. Valerie’s dedication and very apparent passion for Home Visiting was encouraging to experience, and the afternoon I spent with her had an immensely positive impact on my own perspective regarding the work that is being done.
Thank you, Valerie, for being a strong leader in the field, for being compassionate, genuine, kind and brilliant. I hope that many others have an opportunity to go with you on home visits and that we all are able to share the word with the community about how impactful Home Visiting can be. Truly, thank you Valerie for all that you do and I am so grateful that you are involved in this work, the world needs more people like you!
I think that says it all, almost. One more thing that should be acknowledged is that Valerie is a life-long learner. She continually strives to hone her skills and enhance her practice. She does this by seeking out stimulating professional development trainings and sharing honestly during case conferences. Valerie is also self-reflective and reaches out to debrief after challenging home visits. She takes the time to pause and to process, learning from each client. She seeks to fully understand a concept, a challenge, and to build her knowledge base and nursing practice. Valerie makes our team, Nurse- Family Partnership, and Public Health stronger every day.