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As a nurse practitioner, Dr. Andrea Achenbach has worked in the community, through Linn County Public Health and at Heart of Iowa — a community treatment center for women with addiction as well as their families.
Most recently Achenbach has been at the Eastern Iowa Health Center in Cedar Rapids.
“It has been really nice as I have gotten to know those patients in earlier roles and can now serve them through the Eastern Iowa Health Center,” she said.
Achenbach has done a lot of work helping the refugee population in the area, for example.
“Iowa has a history of welcoming refugees since the 1970s,” she said.
She noted recent refugees are coming from Democratic Republic of the Congo.
“What I have the honor of doing is being the first health provider that the refugee family members see in the Cedar Rapids community. I get to interact with them as they come to our country as their new home and as they learn how our system operates,” she said.
“The biggest piece is getting them plugged into the care that they need so they can continue to learn and grow and be vibrant members of the community.”
Achenbach said it was just a matter of reaching out to get connected with these opportunities.
“The timing has worked out well, for example, to allow the University of Iowa College of Nursing to partner with Eastern Iowa Health Center,” she said.
“It's a great opportunity for us clinicians at the College of Nursing to take our students there for learning and to see how well they serve the community.”
She has been a part of the Hawkeyes for Haiti project, which provides medical care in Haitian communities, and enjoys the team approach to making that project successful.
Her role at the University of Iowa College of Nursing allows her to wear a lot of hats, including being a professor and director of the Family Nurse Practitioner program.
“In preparing graduate nursing students, we really push them to become leaders,” she said. “I get to watch them transition from being a nursing leader to an overall health care leader and leaders in the community.
“And you have to remember that nurse practitioner graduate student are different than other graduate students because they are not only dedicated 100 percent to their education, but they are also maintaining their nursing practice.”
“And of course this last year especially has shown me how selfless these nurses are,” she added. “I was really appreciative of them and it is just miraculous what they have done and what they continue to do.”
Achenbach also credits much of her own success to being surrounded by committed, cooperative teams.
“We have exceptional Linn County Public Health nursing care, I mean absolutely exceptional,” she said. “I got to work with them as a team, and without them I wouldn't have been able to do what I've done.
“That goes from the College of Nursing team, too, and all the providers that Eastern Iowa Health Center. We are so lucky with exceptional health care providers here.”
Business 380 spotlights some of HER Magazine’s Women of Achievement, published by The Gazette. The awards were sponsored by Farmers State Bank.