Kara Baltz went to Portage High School, and is now a registered nurse (RN) at the Methodist Hospitals in Merrillville and Gary, Indiana. Every minute of her job is about preserving life; her desire to do so enriches her own and all the other lives she comes across.
Baltz did a fair bit of jumping around after high school to get the required certifications. First was a year spent at Indiana University Bloomington, followed by her bachelor’s at Purdue University Northwest. What came after that was some time at a nearby Ivy Tech Community College branch, which is where she claimed her nursing degree. Without the influence of her sister, Tiffany, however, she wouldn’t be where she is today.
“My sister is nine years older than me, so she was already working in the world when I was fresh out of high school. She's always been the person I look up to. I’ve followed in her footsteps with things because she’s a role model. It was because of her that, early on, I knew I wanted to be a nurse,” she said.
When Baltz originally began working as a nurse, she started in a medical-surgical unit before she moved over to the intensive care unit. Nowadays, her role has to do with providing critical care in general, but for the last two years in particular, she’s been in and about the ER. Putting together complete pictures is just one of her joys when she goes into work; the ins and outs of the ER are what keep her on her toes. New faces constantly venture her way, and so opportunities arise out of unfamiliarity.
“I'm always getting to meet new people. Where I work, the people I interact with come from all walks of life. We have a lot of people who are homeless, poor, hungry, or drug addicts, and we embrace all. It gives you a totally different perspective on life and what other people are really going through. Giving them a helping hand alongside all the caring professionals I work with is the best part of it all,” she said.
The patient population Baltz encounters is what matters most to her. Having to assist individuals who are all seeking help allows her to not only serve as a nurse but also as an educator, since she needs to know information about proper medications among other things. Her home away from home is the workplace, and she treats those who come her way with endless compassion and sympathy.
Baltz lives in Valparaiso. It has presented her with a calming sense of closeness all her life. Forever has she realized that there are both so many things to do in and outside of the city. It helps, too, that most of her family is in the area. Nobody is too far away, and for her that fact only enhances the tight-knit nature of the community.
“I like Valpo for a lot of reasons. First of all, it’s in a good location. We have a beautiful city. I absolutely love being downtown. There's so much to do, and it’s always clean. We're so close to so many different places, and the people closest to me feel like they’re right next door,” she said.
Baltz has been a cheerleader since she was little. She has a daughter named Olivia, who is 11 years old. It’s likely that the two of them will now get to spend more time together because Baltz recently took over as director of TCA All-Star Cheer, the organization for which her daughter and other young girls cheer their little hearts out. Her son David also plays football, so between getting both of her children to practices and events on time, she’s become quite the supermom.
All people have ways of destressing, especially hard-working folks like Baltz. For her, it’s mostly cleaning and making sure the kids promptly make it to where they need to go. Past that, there’s the love she has for her two golden retrievers. Lots of time goes into showing them attention by taking them out and playing with them. She also puts time into herself, going to the gym as often as she can.