Family nurse practitioner Tara Meyer finds ‘dream job’ at Gifford

Tara Meyer

Tara Meyer

‘Nana would be so proud’

BERLIN – Tara Meyer has realized her grandmother’s dream, and then some.

Meyer’s grandmother wanted to be a nurse during World War II. Ironically, it was demand to act as her family’s caregiver at home that prevented her from realizing her dream.

Meyer wanted to be a furniture maker and traveled from her hometown of North Attleboro, Mass., to Goddard College in Vermont to learn the trade. But a job after college in a family-owned home for adults with developmental disabilities had her looking to nursing.

“I loved working with people. The woodshop was lovely. (But) All the old men got sick of me yacking in their ear,” jokes a warm, friendly and outgoing Meyer.

Meyer’s grandmother helped her to go back to school as part of the first class to take the master’s entry program in nursing at the University of Vermont. Her grandmother lived to see Meyer graduate from nursing school but not from family nurse practitioner school several years later, also at the University of Vermont.

“‘Nana would be so proud’” was the family’s reaction to Meyer’s graduation, Meyer recalls. “She was my best friend.”

Now Meyer is realizing a new dream. She started this month at Gifford Medical Center’s Berlin health center, the Gifford Health Center at Berlin off Airport Road, providing primary care to people of all ages.

The Montpelier resident calls the position her “dream job.” “I’m very happy. I just love Gifford. A lot of my friends come to Gifford. A lot of my friends have had babies at Gifford,” Meyer says. “It feels really great to work in a place where I’m proud of, that’s really invested in the community and has a great reputation.

“We walk the walk.”

Board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center and a member of the Vermont Nurse Practitioner Association, Meyer comes to Gifford with both nursing and family nurse practitioner experience. She worked as an inpatient nurse at Fletcher Allen Health Care for three years, as a nurse practitioner to children and adults with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and most recently as a primary care nurse practitioner for the Program for All-inclusive Care of the Elderly (PACE) in Colchester.

PACE provided care to elders. Meyer is looking to diversify her practice to include all ages. Other interests include integrative medicine, women’s health, wound care and palliative care.

“I like to meet people where they’re at,” she says, noting she’ll provide options and advice but let patients choose their course, be that medications or more natural alternatives. “I’m really interested in empowering people, because they’re their own doctor 99 percent of the time.”

In her free time, Meyer enjoys time with her husband, hiking, skiing, yoga, cooking and serves as a volunteer primary care provider at People’s Health and Wellness Clinic in Barre.

Meyer is seeing patients at the Gifford Health Center at Berlin Monday mornings, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays as well as working at area nursing homes on Gifford’s behalf. She joins family nurse practitioner and friend Sheri Brown in practice in Berlin. The health center is also home to an infectious disease specialist, orthopedist, podiatrist, neurologist and Gifford’s team of certified nurse-midwives.

To learn more, call the health center at (802) 229-2325.

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