For the past 37 years, Vickie Carlsen has been a registered nurse. She has helped patients from the cardiovascular ward to labor and delivery and the neonatal intensive-care unit. But it was the ones she couldn’t help that stood out to her.
“I worked a lot of years in pediatrics and I saw a lot of cases of unresolved child abuse,” she said. “And I began to ask myself, what can we do to prevent it?”
That was why Carlsen became a home visitor with the New Parent Support Program, an assistance program that educates and helps new parents. The NPSP is available for parents of children under the age of three. Registered nurses visit parents upon request, answering questions and being a valuable second pair of eyes.
The visits are absolutely free.
“We educate parents and are there to help them deal with the stressors of new parenthood,” said Carlsen. “For Families in general, becoming a parent is difficult. Sometimes parents just need to be told they’re doing a good job.”
Depending on the needs of the parents, Carlsen will visit two or three times a week. There is no limit to how long the visits continue and as long as the child is under the age of three and parents want to be seen, the NPSP home visitors will be there.
“I love working in the prevention field,” said Carlsen, who made 39 home visits in September. “Visiting parents helps to really drop the child abuse numbers.”
Working directly with the young military Families and watching them grow and progress in the military community is what Carlsen says is the most rewarding aspect of her job. And her commitment has not been overlooked. Last month, she won the Fort Bragg Individual Customer Service Award.
Carlsen said she was deeply honored to receive the award, but ultimately, it’s about serving the Families.
“I believe every Family is worth going the extra mile for,” she said. “My goals for next year in my job are to continue to evaluate the training programs and home visitation interactions. I want to ensure military Families are getting the most value and benefit from NPSP services.”
If Families are interested in NPSP home visit, contact the office at 396-7951, or parents can call ACS at 396-5521 for more information.
“We want to connect our Soldiers and their Families,” said Carlsen. “Ultimately, the program is about giving parents the permission to be human while giving them all the resources they need.”