Val Conrad

Nurse practitioner, author, photographer, teacher.

I grew up in the Texas Panhandle, left a number of times and lived in a number of other places, but I'm back in my hometown now. My first love was always writing, and I was the editor of The Little Harvester, the high school weekly newspaper, for both my junior and senior years. But during my senior year, I also attended EMT school, which started me on a long career in a number of facets of medicine. From over two decades as a paramedic to becoming a registered nurse, I have enjoyed not only the technical aspects of medicine, but the heart-to-heart connections with patients throughout the years. But I always loved writing.

In my last semester of nursing school, my first book, Blood of Like Souls, was published. Although I worked on that manuscript for more than sixteen years, I continued with the story to the next three books over the next three years. Both the first and fourth books were named Finalist in the Indie Next Generation Book Awards. I attended the ceremony for the first book in New York City in 2011, but I was quite out of my West Texas element in a what seemed to be a crowded, dirty, loud city, topped off by my first gallbladder attack. I'm sure the city is not nearly as bad as I remember, but the experience didn't leave me with any burning desire to go back the second time.

Since then, I have worked at the hospital, as well as nursing faculty with a new ADN program. I love teaching nursing students just like when I taught EMTs. Teaching, I see my job as more than giving students facts to learn.  I love seeing them make a mental connection of facts. Their pinnings and graduations are special for me, watching them take their first steps into a new careers. 

I did not attend my own graduation in Savannah, Georgia. I did, however, begin work in a specialty practice that I feel couldn't have been better if I'd designed the job myself. From there. I've moved on and now work as one of three providers in a rural health family practice clinic, back in my hometown. For the first time in a long time, I have a greater sense of making a difference.  I even had the quote put on a computer cover:

   If you don't feel you are making a difference, you probably aren't.