Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Van Ruler eager to serve patients in new nurse health coach role

by Derrick Vander Waal

SIOUX CENTER, IOWA – Stephanie Van Ruler grew up in Sioux Center believing and dreaming that she had to go elsewhere to live out God’s plan for her life.

But now she realizes that was “a narrow perspective.” Sioux Center is her place to serve others.

Her life pathway now has led her to Promise Community Health Center, where she will serve in the newly created role of nurse health coach.

Stephanie Van Ruler has assumed the
new role of nurse health coach at
Promise Community Health Center
in Sioux Center. She is eager to
"serve, love and walk beside" people
to help them become healthier.

“Each point, each encounter and each decision I have made up to this point in my life was part of a greater plan that included Sioux Center and serving the diverse community of God’s children right here,” Van Ruler said. “I believe and daily strive to see each person as a unique and beautiful child of God who deserves respect, love and someone to believe in them.”

She thinks that is embodied in Promise’s mission statement: “Together we deliver the promise of a healthier community.”

“Health doesn’t begin at the doctor’s office or with the lab numbers you see. Health begins in your environment, in your home, in your work; it begins with you,” she said. “A healthier community encompasses all those living in our community. This is what drew me to Promise and the position of nurse health coach.”

In her role, Van Ruler will serve as a resource, care manager, advocate and teacher for individuals, providers, the school systems and the broader community. She will work one-on-one with individuals and their families both in the clinic setting and in their homes to evaluate health needs, environment and the barriers to better health. In doing so, she will help them establish a plan and guide them and their families along the way to achieve the plan. She also will work closely with local and state resources and agencies to ensure that each person receives the resources and support that they need.  

Van Ruler, who is fluent in English and conversational in Spanish, was drawn to this opportunity to “serve, love and walk beside” her neighbors right in her own community.

“Health is far more than a yearly doctor’s visit and lab work,” she said. “Health is about your environment, your family, what is important to you and what barriers may be preventing you from living the life that you desire. Those barriers can range from education deficits, work and home stress, financial constraints, to basic needs of safe housing, lack of food resources or language deficits.”

Van Ruler’s desire to become a nurse started while she was a student at Unity Christian High School in Orange City. She was fascinated by the human body and how it worked, and she loved people. It seemed like a perfect fit. So, she enrolled at Augustana University in Sioux Falls and then later Dordt College as a nursing student after graduating from high school in 2003.

However, as she started college, she started wrestling with and questioning the decision  – wondering whether she was choosing nursing because it felt safe and was what she wanted or because it was where God was guiding her.

To reflect more on her life calling, she took time off school and spent nearly six months living with a family in Honduras in 2004.

“The time I spent there helped me see that nursing and caring for others in some of the most vulnerable times of their lives was God’s call for me life,” she said.

Van Ruler earned her associate degree in nursing (RN) in 2007 from St. Luke’s College in Sioux City and her bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from Dordt College in 2008.

She then began serving at Sioux Center Health in June 2007 – both as a staff nurse and care coordinator. She served a variety of roles in the hospital setting, including medical and surgery, labor and delivery, postpartum and emergency department. She then served as a medical clinic nurse at Sioux Center Health for the past four years.

She’s now is eager to delve deeper into her new role at Promise.

“I am excited to work with people who have a desire and a passion to create a healthier community by serving and partnering with their patients,” Van Ruler said.

Promise Community Health Center of Sioux Center is the only Federally Qualified Health Center serving the far northwest corner of Iowa. Promise provides medical, prenatal, dental, vision and behavioral health services. To learn more, visit www.promisechc.org and watch this video.

Stephanie Van Ruler and her husband, Daniel, live in Sioux Center and have three children, Amayah, 5, Addisyn, 5, and Kadrian, 3. In her free time, she enjoys running, reading, scrapbooking and camping.