Building Better Lives

Building Better Lives

Hopkins Nurse Heals Patients and Houses

by Whitney L. J. Howell

IOM Recommendation 6If you ask Kelly Hendrix, RN, her work as a general contractor isn’t too different from her work as a nurse in The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Emergency Department. Both use a healing touch.

Kelly Hendrix gets hands-on rebuilding a deck.

“You must also be a people person.” Hendrix adds. “As a nurse, you listen to what your patient needs and use your skills to help them. As a contractor, you aren’t trying to make people feel physically better, but you’re trying to make them feel better emotionally by giving them a lovely home.”

Hendrix and her husband created their home improvement company, Building Solutions, five years ago. They focus on renovating older homes, reclaiming each structure’s former beauty. “I love taking something that has been completely wrecked and turning it into something amazing,” she says. As long as a house has a solid foundation, they can make any other repairs, including framing, plumbing, and electrical work. Much of her role includes talking with the customer to determine preferences and pricing out each job.

It’s also been fun for her to watch the Hospital’s new clinical building come together. In fact, one of the building’s most interesting features parallels one of her favorite parts of contracting—the tile. Made partially from recycled glass, the tiles in the new building sparkle. “When you come across a lot of tile, the shimmer is just a nice touch to see,” she observes.

While Hendrix enjoys working as a contractor, she hopes other women will be inspired by her success. “I want women to stop saying, ‘I can’t do it.’ Watch HGTV. You can do it. It’s easy,” she says. “You don’t have to worry
about calling someone to take care of things. You can look it up online and figure it out.”

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