Granddaughter’s Death Spurs Sense of Mission

John SniffenLa Hacienda, Treatment Team

Nurse Practitioner Cyndy Hartsfield checks medical data with Physician Dr. Ottis Layne

Photo caption: Nurse Practitioner Cyndy Hartsfield, right, discusses information with Physician Dr. Ottis Layne.

As do many of our staff members, Nurse Practitioner Cyndy Hartsfield, RN FNP, brings a personal desire to help people recover to her work at La Hacienda.

In 2016 her 25-year-old granddaughter, Katy, died from a heroin overdose. The family knew the young woman had an addiction and tried to help as she struggled with her illness.

Her death was an accident, says Cyndy. As happens too often with drugs sold illegally, the contents were unknown. The heroin she took contained fentanyl.

Katy lost her struggle, but Cyndy says her sense of mission is heightened by the knowledge that she can assist others to be healed.

“If I can help convince just one person not to do what Katy did. If I can help somebody to live, I’ll feel like I’ve done something good in response to her death,” says Cyndy, who joined the staff in May. “There’s always hope.”

Second Time Around

This is her second time on the La Hacienda staff. She was employed on the nursing staff in 1990. “I loved it,” says Cyndy, who was promoted in two months to director of nursing.

She left in 1992 to study law. After obtaining a degree, she combined her skills by doing risk consulting for healthcare organizations. However, she missed caring for patients, so she again went back to school to become a nurse practitioner.

Cyndy’s first position in that capacity was with another treatment center. She grew up in Kerrville, however, so when she heard of an opening here, she decided it was time to come home.

Better Patient Care

As a nurse practitioner, she sees patients on medical rounds, does admissions, writes orders and prescribes medications.

“The use of nurse practitioners or physician assistants extends our physicians’ ability care for the patients,” says Medical Director Dr. James Boone. “There is always a board-certified addiction specialist on site to allow ongoing oversight for every patient.”

“The nurse practitioner can easily handle everyday health problems and routine detoxification and medical management. This allows the physicians more time to care for patients with more complex medical issues.”

Collegial Atmosphere

The medical staff have a good working relationship, says Cyndy “We have a very collegial atmosphere. We can ask questions anytime. And I do ask many questions.”

She notes that much has changed for the better in addiction treatment over the course of her career.

“It’s a very interesting field. We’re better equipped to help the patients because the standards of care have improved. There are more humane and medically safe options now.”