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Hawkins provides a friendly face at Midwest Express Clinic in Dyer

Originally published on NWI Times on June 5, 2020

Midwest Express Clinic Manager of Clinical Documentation, Nicole Hawkins, FNP knows the Northwest Indiana Region.

Hawkins (then Nicole Parra) played clarinet in the Munster band. As a teen, she worked for the town’s parks and recreation camps and at the now-closed Sterk’s grocery store on 45th Avenue. She and her extended family still live in the area.

So it just makes sense that she leads a staff treating Regionites at MEC’s Schererville & Dyer locations. “Being able to establish care with regular patients, that’s the biggest thing that I love about working at the office,” Hawkins said. “I’ve been able to tell patients that they’re pregnant when they’ve been trying forever and I’m taking care of their kids now.”

The Crown Point resident holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Purdue Northwest.  Before Midwest Express Clinic, she worked in the Community Hospital system.  Hawkins also worked as a certified nursing assistant and in nursing homes during college.

“Ever since I was little, I always knew I wanted to be in the medical field,” Hawkins said. “Growing up, I hung out a lot with my grandparents. I always helped take care of them.”

Her grandfather, John Skurka, had a stroke when Hawkins was a kid and he needed help. Hawkins was often around to provide it.  “I always knew my end goal was always to care for patients and treat patients,” she said. “I love that I never know exactly what the day is going to bring.”

MEC has six locations in Northwest Indiana in Munster, Hammond, Schererville, Crown Point, Dyer, and Merrillville. All are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week and 365 days a year. Munster has expanded hours from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Patients can walk into any Midwest Express Clinic location for a visit. Virtual check in is also available at midwestexpressclinic.com.

“Nicole sets a high standard,” Kate Cunningham, HR and Operations said. “You can tell that she really cares about her patients. And her office is such a close-knit group and they’ve been that way since Nicole started. She’s a phenomenal leader.”  Staff like Hawkins provide family care, women’s health care, treat burns and broken bones, provide physicals and give flu shots, among dozens of other treatments and services.

“I feel like every time someone new is introduced to us, they keep coming back,” Hawkins said.

Midwest Express Clinic hired Hawkins over four years ago. She still loves coming to work every day.  “From my initial interview (with MEC), there’s been so much energy and excitement involved. There is so much room for growth and learning and so many opportunities available to treat a multitude of patients in my own community,” Hawkins said. “That’s why I continue to stay year after year. Watching the growth of the company, working with the management, being able to grow as a provider. It’s a great place to be.”