Thrive by IU Health

July 08, 2021

Nurse, mother of three, started career cleaning hospital rooms

IU Health University Hospital

Nurse, mother of three, started career cleaning hospital rooms

She knows what it’s like to be versatile. Tamara Shropshire has worn several hats at IU Health before becoming a nurse.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes, tfender1@iuhealthorg

She likes to say she was so intent on working for IU Health that she applied three times because she heard it was such a great place to work.

Tamara Shropshire doesn’t sugar coat her words. She is a hard worker and has relied on persistence to get her to where she is today – a nurse in IU Health University Hospital’s Women’s and Hematology Clinic. She landed the job in April of 2020, but was no stranger to the hospital setting.

She started working at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in 1998 where she cleaned the rooms in the preschool unit. She was working at a daycare, and managing life as a single mother of three when she first started her career in healthcare.

Nineteen years ago she married her husband Michael and continued working her way into various hospital jobs. She became a Certified Nursing Assistant and then a patient care assistant at Riley Hospital. Next, she completed a seven-month program to become a pharmacy technician and worked in home care infusion pharmacy for a number of years. She started nursing school in 2008.

“It took me about 10 years because I took once class at a time while I was raising my kids and I was still working full time,” said Shropshire. Her children are now 31, 30, and 26 and scattered in different states. She also is grandma to five.

“When I started nursing school I had a senior in high school, a junior in high school, and one in seventh grade,” said Shropshire. “I had an aunt who passed away from cancer and that gave me the drive to want to help people and do something about cancer.” When she graduated from nursing school she wanted to work in oncology but there were no positions available. She didn’t give up.

“The greatest reward I have working with these patients is the relationships I build. We see these patients frequently and when a patient comes in and knows me it just makes me so happy,” said Shropshire.

“I was 46 when I became a nurse. It sounds cliché but it’s true – if I can do it, anyone can,” she said. “I had a lot of odds against me but I never gave up.”