Nurse Natalie Calow: ‘I Feel Like I Grew Up At Methodist’

As a young girl, she spent nights at Methodist Hospital as her aunt battled cancer. She remembers the nurses and how wonderful they were. And so she became one of them.

The ledge of the big window inside the hospital room was just wide enough, a perfect little makeshift bed for 11-year-old Natalie Calow.

She would sleep there night after night, keeping watch over her aunt, who was fighting a rare form of cancer.

“I remember sleeping in that windowsill and I remember watching fireworks out that window,” says Calow. “I remember watching LifeLine land.”

And she remembers the nurses – those wonderful, amazing nurses at IU Health Methodist Hospital. They would come into her aunt’s room and they took such good care of her. They were so sweet and kind.

They let Calow stay as they placed a feeding tube. When her aunt took a turn for the worse one Christmas, they let her family have their holiday in the nearby waiting room.

When the news came that her aunt probably wouldn’t make it and she was taken off all medications, the nurses were so compassionate.

“I feel like I grew up at Methodist,” says Calow, whose aunt is doing well today. “I feel like it’s kind of where I got my nursing start. And then I came to work here.” 

Yes. Calow is one of those wonderful nurses now. She came to Methodist in 2005 to work in the emergency department and do forensic nursing.

She stayed there for nine years before switching to a leadership role and then becoming manager of the mother baby unit.

Six months ago, she came back to her role as a forensic nurse, caring for victims of violent crimes.

In addition to being there for the patients, she collects evidence, does sexual assault exams and kits, takes photos, testifies in court and does blood alcohol draws.

“I love forensics because it is helping a vulnerable population,” Calow says. “A lot of victims of crime may have some type of mental health issue or substance abuse issue. Sometimes, they haven’t gotten the help they need. If we come in and aren’t judgmental in our care and try to help them, that makes a big difference.”

In addition to her forensics role, Calow also works in the ED and, during racing season, works at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

More with Calow

Personal: She is married to Brad and the couple has three children: Oliver, 7, Annabelle, 9 and Ellis, 12. 

Education: Calow was born in New Castle, Ind., and grew up as a standout athlete. She played basketball and softball and went to Indiana Wesleyan University on a softball scholarship. After getting married in college, she transferred to Indiana University East where she graduated with her nursing degree. In 2015, Calow earned her master’s degree in healthcare leadership from the University of Indianapolis.

Outside of Methodist: Calow likes to read mystery books, run with Annabelle and spend time with her family, camping and hiking at state parks. She also loves to travel. Her family recently went on a trip rafting the Colorado River. “We like to say, ‘We don’t take vacations. We take adventures,’” says Calow.

Advice for new nurses: “Continuous learning. I’m still learning new things. Never be afraid to go back to school.”

Getting through the tough times: “When something does happen, in the moment you’re sad. You might shed a few tears, but you have to take care of that next person that comes in the door. So, you gather yourself and move on. It might hit you later on.”

— By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Benbow via email or on Twitter @danabenbow.