There isn’t a more difficult time than the middle of an unprecedented pandemic to jump into a new job as a nurse practitioner. Yet Kyla Schreck, a new team member at NorthShore Health Centers, did just that without hesitation.
“I was getting ready to start here when everything began snowballing and closing, but I felt ready,” she said. “I knew that I was up for the challenge and that I could handle whatever came my way. People are afraid and want to know what their options are, and I was more than confident that I could help people with all of that.”
Schreck started her healthcare career as a front desk secretary at a family practice right after she graduated from Lake Central High School. It did not take long for her to realize that what she truly wanted was to work with patients.
“I saw that nurses are the first major point of contact, and they shape patients’ opinions of medical care,” she said. “You can determine whether they feel comfortable getting regular healthcare, or you can be part of the reason why they shy away from it. I wanted to be a part of making people comfortable in a nonjudgmental environment.”
Yet she wanted to do more than offer a welcoming and compassionate first impression.
“Why not be able to take care of patients from the beginning to the end of their visit?” Schreck said. “The idea of taking care of a patient in a complete way was really exciting to me, so I earned my nurse practitioner license through Walden University.”
Nurse practitioners are trained to do many of the same things a family physician might do, such as diagnosing diseases, formulating and prescribing treatment plans, and running various tests. Right now, most of Schreck’s time is devoted to completing COVID-19 screenings, but she follows a special personal philosophy no matter what kind of treatment or assessment comes her way.
“I always aim to treat my patients as a whole person, and take the time to really listen to what they’re saying,” she said. “Building a relationship with them is important to fully understanding what’s going on, and how to treat them in way that meets their individual needs.”
For 14 years, Schreck worked at the same family practice. Then something happened that changed her perspective on life, and she sought out something new.
“I found out my oldest sister had stage four breast cancer,” she said. “That was the moment when life shouted in my ear and said, ‘don’t wait any longer to do anything you had planned.’ It was time to jump in with both feet and try something different.”
That led her to NorthShore Health Centers, but it was NorthShore’s commitment to comprehensive and accessible care for everyone—a mission that has driven her since the start of her career—that told her she belonged.
“What stood out to me immediately was their treatment of substance abuse, mental health, and physical health all in one building,” she said. “The desire to help people is the entire reason you get into healthcare. That doesn’t mean just certain people—it means everyone.”
Schreck is accepting new patients at the LaPorte NorthShore Center (714 Lincolnway, LaPorte, IN 46350). To learn more about NorthShore Health Centers, or to make an appointment with Schreck, visit northshorehealth.org.