As a Nurse Home Visitor, there’s never a typical day on the job. I could be visiting a client at a homeless shelter, a foster home or Riker’s Island. People might think Riker’s is dangerous, but I actually feel safer there because they have lots of security.
The clients we work with are first-time mothers. We begin providing supportive services when they are seven months pregnant until the baby is 2 years old. I have a caseload of 15 clients that I visit twice a month. My clients live all over the city.
We get referrals mostly from the Dept. of Homeless Services, the Prevention Assistance Temporary Housing program. There’s no typical client. They can be as young as 12 and as old as 41. Sometimes they’re having twins or triplets.
We make sure they follow up with their pre-natal appointments with their doctors. If they live in a shelter and don’t have money for transportation they’ll be provided with a MetroCard.
I got a text recently from a former client I used to visit on the Lower East Side. She had tried to get the baby’s father to be more involved with their child. She wanted the father to read to the baby. I suggested to her she get a book and put it in the father’s hand. She sent me a photo with the father reading to the baby. She thanked me for showing her that there are different ways to resolve things.
I’ve been a Nurse Home Visitor since 2006 and I believe that even living in less than ideal circumstances you can have a healthy and happy baby.