Part of our “Women on Their Second Careers” Series
There are people who have passions and there are people who pursue their passions. You can count Jennifer Garrick as one who pursues her passions. Jennifer’s career path from fifth grade teacher, to high-end children’s jewelry designer, to nurse practitioner is defined by her motivation to look for “what else is out there?” The fact that she started her nursing education in her 30’s was more a fulfillment of destiny than anything. When Jennifer was a child, she assisted the doctor who repaired her brother’s ear injury.
“After that, the doctor said ‘Jennifer, you have to be a doctor,’” she shares.
Jennifer’s drive to understand things at a detailed level and to put that information together to solve problems, is a big reason why she has found her place at Vanguard Skin Specialists as a dermatology nurse practitioner.
Jennifer’s first role as a nurse was in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “I loved it. I loved my relationships with the families. It fulfilled my love of technical things, of trying to figure things out. It also fulfilled the personal relationships I like to have. No one is more important to a mom than the person that is taking care of her baby,” says Jennifer.
This is a common refrain throughout her careers. Jennifer enjoys working to understand minute details and how these details answer the bigger questions. Whether it is helping a physician to repair a torn ear or the creative work of designing and putting together a piece of original jewelry, she has a talent for working from the smallest of details to create a whole result.
From there, Jennifer worked in the operating room, and “This is where I realized I love surgery. It is so intriguing to see things that are messed up and to put it all back together. Everything is better. We can also make it look prettier,” explains Jennifer.
This also applies to dermatology for her, and she shares “I am able to take all the best parts I liked about being a nurse and I am able to do that as a nurse practitioner.”
This desire to live in the details, in the technical aspects of medicine, and to have a connection with the patients she serves, has led Jennifer to choose Vanguard. This is the place she knew could work with like-minded medical professionals towards finding answers for various dermatology concerns, including skin cancers.
“When I started looking for my next career home, my husband and I looked for places we wanted to live. We had lived in Denver for twelve years in the past and my step-daughter and step-son both live in Colorado right now,” says Jennifer. She goes on to explain what it was about Vanguard Skin Specialists that appealed to her, as she considered her different options and offers. “The way Vanguard does things; the focus on excellence. This place had more of the things I was looking for in a practice,” she says.
With Jennifer’s ability to break things down, analyze them, and create a better outcome, there is little doubt she applied these same skills to her decision-making process when choosing Vanguard. Her careers all have that in common; that search for excellence in all she does.
Her personal philosophy on life and work is an important factor in understanding how she has been able to seek out the careers that has had up until this point.
“Time is going to go by regardless. You can tell yourself you are too old, that it is too expense, that you have kids – I had five kids when I went nursing school and six when I went to NP school – it is hard, but if you really want something you can do it,” says Jennifer. “You are never too old. You have one life. If there is something you want to do, just do it,” continues Jennifer.
Jennifer lives this motto in all she does. Whether it was the advice she gave to a scrub technician while working in the OR to pursue her goal of becoming a nurse in her late 40’s or the academic and career achievements of her children, Jennifer lives by her philosophy and inspires others to do the same.
To schedule an appointment with Jennifer, please call 719-355-1585. She sees patients in Pueblo and Briargate.
Vanguard Skin Specialists began as a Colorado Springs dermatology practice and now has additional office in Canon City, Pueblo, and Woodland Park. Vanguard specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer, and also offers general dermatology, plastic surgery, and aesthetic medicine.