She had a path for her career starting as a child and growing stronger. Lynne Eberle never strayed from that path.
Eberle, director of the emergency room at Kosciusko Community Hospital, knew as a little girl she wanted to be a nurse. When she was 15 she volunteered at a hospital in her hometown of Peru. She “asked nurses who had their stuff together,” what she needed to do and she did just that.
She went to college set on being a nurse, but it was at the time when nurses were being laid off. So she received a bachelor’s degree in biological and psychological science and became a lab tech. Still wanting to be a nurse, she went back to college and obtained her nursing degree. Her path of direction was to spend two years in critical care, or intensive care units, and then go to the ER. She did just that.
She has been director of the ER for the past two years.
“I always wanted to be a nurse, since I was a little girl,” Eberle stated, adding she honestly doesn’t know why. Could it have been because her pediatric nurse at her doctor in Kokomo always made airplanes out of tongue depressors? She laughed at that thought.
The Peru native attended Indiana University at Kokomo to receive her degree and worked at Dukes Memorial Hospital in Peru; Woodlawn Hospital, Rochester; and Lutheran Hospital, Fort Wayne, “when it was still on Fairfield.”
While she could be considered management, it’s not uncommon to find her helping on the floor, filling in when extra help is needed or taking a shift herself when short staffed.
But if working in the ER wasn’t exciting enough, she took on a new adventure utilizing her nursing degree in 2005.
“I always had said, if I hit the lottery I would still work as a nurse,” she said, noting she would then quit her job and become a Red Cross volunteer. “It would not be a job to go to everyday.”
She was sitting at home one evening watching the devastation from Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “I have to go there. I have to help,” she said to her husband, Jim. The next day she stopped by the Red Cross Chapter office in Warsaw, on her way home. “What do I need to do to assist? Or can I even go down?” she asked. Her response ”when can you deploy?”
Noting she had two weeks available, she was told to report the following morning. Four hours later she was handed a debit card, sheet of paper and airline ticket from Fort Wayne to Baton Rouge, La., the next day.
Her experience is one she will never forget. Getting in a vehicle with strangers, nurses and their experiences being singled out of the volunteer lines, dispensing medications, traveling with National Guardsmen carrying M-16 riffles, going into areas where undercover narcotic agents had to give the green light to enter a home, working 16 hours and resting for eight, searching for facilities for dialysis patents and transportation to those facilities.
She started in the St. Tammany Parish just off Interstate 10, near the famous hurricane photo of the boat through a condo wall.
While it was a “fun time,” according to Eberle, she did get real sick with officials believing she had acquired legionnaires disease as many of the shelters she worked at had been flooded and mold was prominent. However, it was only an upper respiratory illness.
“I liked getting to be a nurse and not do all the paperwork,” she recalled, adding she still has the interest and desire to help.