Nurse-Family Partnership Nurses

Melissa Smith

It’s in the genes.

That’s the explanation offered by Melissa Smith, RN, BSN, the Nurse Supervisor for the Nurse-Family Partnership at RVNAhealth, of her lifelong devotion to mothers and babies. “If there’s a baby in the room, I just have to hold it. I remember being seven years old and having the same response, so maybe it is just genetic,” she joked.

As the leader of the Nurse-Family Partnership at RVNAhealth, which provides a dedicated nurse for low-income first-time mothers until their child reaches age two, Smith is excited to be broadening the nonprofit’s spectrum of care with a particularly vulnerable population. Many of the mothers served by the Nurse-Family Partnership are young and most have limited resources and support, a framework which their dedicated nurse helps build.  “When a baby is born, so is a mother,” Smith noted of the transformation that happens when a woman becomes a mother, particularly for the first time.

Melissa Smith and Luna

Jennifer Taborda

Making People Feel Safe and Heard

This is the reason Jennifer Taborda gave when asked why she chose nursing.

“I needed to find a career that allowed me to help educate others to heal and find ways to better their health. I wanted to help people reach goals to care for themselves and to put my desires into action and be able to find fulfillment in my work.”, says Jennifer.

Jennifer received her Registered Nurse license from Columbia Greene Community College in Hudson, NY in 2013 and has been on the move ever since.  Filling roles from NICU nurse, to private boarding school nurse, and Health Coordinator for Head Start in Florida, Jennifer found herself at Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) at RVNAhealth just over a year ago.  “I had never found something that would make my choice of becoming a nurse feel so right one that could truly bring me passion in my field until discovering NFP.”

Jennifer Taborda

Rebecca Bernardo

Social Work, Teaching, or Nursing?

This was the tough decision faced by Rebecca Bernardo her first year of college before choosing a path in nursing, a combination of all three! “I’ve always had a deep desire to serve and love others, and I wanted to be able to address the holistic needs of my future patients.” Says Rebecca.

As a nurse for the Nurse-Family Partnership at RVNAhealth, Rebecca is a new face on the scene.  Graduating from UConn with a BSN and RN license during the rise of a pandemic, Rebecca began working right away and later joining NFP as a Nurse Home Visitor in December of 2021.

Learning about NFP in college, Rebecca strived to be part of the team one day.  After college, she worked in med-surg oncology for a year and later took on a part-time position in postpartum but, she never forgot about her desire to work for NFP.  “Just about everything about Nurse-Family Partnership aligns very closely with my passions and long-term career goals. I had read about NFP in college and thought “wow, this is where I see myself long-term, I just need to get a few years of experience first,” but when a job opening arose and I happened to see NFP was hiring right here in Connecticut, I had to hop on it!”, Rebecca explains.

Rebecca Bernardo

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