PHOTO: Briar Cliff alum Carol Lewallen opened Spencer Convenient Healthcare back in November.
SPENCER, Iowa | It took nurse practitioner Carol Lewallen 27 years from being a certified nursing assistant in her hometown of Cherokee, Iowa, to opening Spencer Convenient Healthcare in November.
Lewallen's journey took her through classes at Iowa Central Community College to become a licensed practical nurse and to Briar Cliff College for her bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing -- all while she worked at the hospitals in Pocahontas and Spencer. After more than 12 years at Spencer Hospital, she continues to work on an as-needed basis a couple days a month, because she still enjoys the interaction.
Before opening her clinic, Lewallen assisted in administration of the operating room at the Pocahontas Community Hospital, and was later clinical coordinator at Spencer Municipal Hospital, where she also worked in surgical recovery.
Although she had increasing responsibilities over the years, Lewallen said, "after being a nurse for so long and doing the same thing over and over, I just didn't feel like I was learning anything any more. I was kind of stagnant professionally speaking.
"I wanted to be able to use my years of experience to better help patients. So I went back to school to get the degrees and certifications to do that.