Paper names Tara Legler, R.N., one of Wyoming's Top Nurses
By Kristy Bleizeffer May 9, 2021
Tara knows what it means to be part of a team. She always has your back and is right there when you need help. Working at Wyoming Medical Center during the pandemic has been hard on everyone but Tara is a pillar to us all. Thank you Tara for being so kind and amazing.”
Congratulations to Tara Legler, R.N., for being named one of Wyoming's Top Nurses by the Casper Star-Tribune.
In celebration of National Nurses Week, the newspaper selected 10 Wyoming nurses for the honor, and four of them work at Wyoming Medical Center.
Tara is a registered nurse on our Neurology Unit, and she was nominated by a coworker.
“When it comes to nursing Tara is at the top of the top. Not only is she kind, considerate, personable, but she is smart and the go-to nurse,” reads her nomination.
Read more about Tara and her career in the interview below.
How long have you been a nurse, and how long have you worked at Banner Wyoming Medical Center.
I’ve been at Wyoming Medical Center since 2008. I started out as an Emergency Room tech for two years while I was in nursing school, and I graduated in May 2010 from Casper College. Which then moved me up to a Registered nurse at WMC’s ER, where I worked for nine years. I then worked at the ER at Mountain View for a year, and then I came to work on the Neuro Unit when WMC bought Mountain View. I’ve been on Neuro for about three years.
Why did you choose nursing as your career?
I didn't necessarily choose it, it chose me. My mom is a CNA. She actually works here and she is an EMT advanced down in our ER. My dad is a paramedic. I have a great aunt who was a colonel in the Air Force and was also a nurse. Her husband, my great uncle, is an old ER doctor. My sister also was a CNA. At dinner we would all sit around the table telling hospital stories all the time. My sister was going through photos and she found a photo of me when I was in preschool wearing a doctor's coat with a stethoscope. So, nursing is just kind of programmed into me.
What do you like about it?
Making people happy. And I know that's kind of cliche but, one thing that I try to do is make people laugh. Laughter, I truly feel, is the best medicine. So, I would kind of be a clown with my patients when I could.
One thing that I missed in the ER is that I never knew outcomes. I never got to see what happened to the patients once we were done saving their lives or doing whatever it was we did to treat them. Now that I'm on the floor, I can see, ‘Ok, they went in for a stroke, we performed the CAT scan and then they got tPA, they went to the ICU and now they are on my floor.” It's really, really rewarding to see people go from a completely debilitating stroke to almost walking out of here. I got goosebumps just talking about it. It's probably one of the coolest things for me to see a patient recover and be able to walk out of here.
I cry with my patients, too. I remember we had a guy who was super young and came in with a really debilitating neurological disorder. The first time he stood up, his mom and girlfriend were with us, and we all just cried at the same time. It was a really rewarding moment.
What has this year been like for you and your co-workers?
Before COVID, we were a Neuro floor. We took a couple of PCU overflow patients, but we mostly treated patients with stroke, seizures, brain bleeds, and other neurologic conditions. When COVID hit, PCU became an all COVID unit, so we took care of the heart and PCU patients. We had really good teamwork with PCU, and we would swap neuro nurses with cardiac nurses just to help each other and learn from each other.
Neuro has really come together in expanding our knowledge to accommodate sicker patients. We have learned so much, and it’s fun to tell each other what new skill we learned that day. We just have amazing teamwork.
Do you think this past year has made you a better nurse?
Oh absolutely. Even during COVID, I would get floated down to ICU – bless their hearts – and take ICU patients too.
What qualities does it take to be a good nurse?
Positivity. Leadership. Critical thinking.
Positivity is, I think, truly one of the most important qualities. If you're down in the dumps, you feel it, your staff feel it and your patient feels it. You just kind of suck the whole floor down with you. Knowledge and skills can be taught, but you can't change a person's personality.
What do you think about working on our Neuro Unit?
I feel at home here. There's no one on our floor, not a single person, that I don't call my friend. We all have really good team work, and we all know personal things about each other. It's just, it's a breath of fresh air to come here.
I think patients notice that, too. I can't tell you how many times, in our patient feedback surveys, that a patient comments about the teamwork on Neuro. Or, a co-worker will help with one of my patients and the patient will comment about how fun and caring they were.
What did you think when you heard that you had been named one of Wyoming’s Top Nurses by the Casper Star-Tribune?
I'm overwhelmed and I feel unworthy. I've always viewed myself as a good nurse but it's not something I'm boastful about. So for other people to acknowledge it without me saying anything is a really huge compliment.
I have been doing this for almost 11 years now, and I just think about all the people that I've worked with, all the amazing human beings I look up to, and I'm just like, “Dang. That's really cool.”
And how do you feel about working at Banner Wyoming Medical Center?
I am so proud of the work we do here. We’re the first Level 3 Epilepsy Center in the region, and we care for stroke patients from all over the state. With telestroke, our neurologists can sit at a computer and help treat stroke patients hundreds of miles away. It's really rewarding when families remember us and send updates on how their families are doing.
I have to thank my amazing team and my amazing manager. Things can get hard, but we pull together up here. We all learn from the struggles and the hard things and we just get back to work.