Kristine Isnardi Employs Diverse Skill Set to Protect the Health and Safety of Brevard County Residents
By Maria Sonnenberg // September 10, 2020
Medical Professional, Commissioner, Mom and Animal Advocate Serves Brevard Residents
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – During the pandemic, Brevard County Commission Chair Kristine Isnardi has had the unique vantage point of working on the front lines and developing policies to keep the community safe.
As a nurse practitioner for the Health First Medical Group practice at Palm Bay’s Bayside Lakes, Isnardi could be seen in the past several weeks bundled in protective equipment while administering COVID-19 testing at the clinic’s parking lot.
Her schedule also included participating in plenty of county commission meetings grappling with pandemic safety.
“Right from the beginning, the effort was to how to best manage the pandemic,” said Isnardi.
COVID forced Isnardi to scrap a long-awaited wish: marching across the stage to receive her Doctorate in Nursing Practice at Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Kentucky.
She earned this terminal degree in March and was slated to “walk” in September, but the pandemic has forced the cancellation of the ceremony.
A doctorate in nursing practice is no small achievement, signifying that the individual has reached the top of her profession.
Earning the degree while already working as a nurse practitioner and serving on the County Commission and raising a family of three on her own was anything but a walk in the park for Isnardi.
“It was the hardest thing I have ever done,” she said. “Only a very small percentage of nurse practitioners get a doctorate.”
For Isnardi, all the effort was well worth it.
“It doesn’t change my pay, but it was a personal goal,” she said. “I wanted to hit the peak of my profession, to be an expert in my specialty and to set an example for my kids.”
In addition to the lost graduation, Isnardi has had to cope with the postponement of her son’s visit. Twenty-one-year-old Derek, who is serving in the Army in South Korea, was slated to arrive for a month’s visit when the military nixed the idea for safety reasons.
“I haven’t seen him in over a year,” said Isnardi.
At least Isnardi still has two of her brood still at home.
Eighteen-year-old Michael just graduated from Bayside High School and will attend Eastern Florida State College while working next year. Jacky, 16, will enter her senior year at Bayside this fall as a dual enrollment student taking college-level courses.
“I love hanging out with my kids,” said Isnardi.
A native of Madison Heights, Michigan, Isnardi had moved around the country with her family and even lived in Canada for a while before heading to Florida in 1999, primarily because of the weather and her relatives.
“My dad was already living in Melbourne,” said the Palm Bay resident.
Before entering nursing in 2008, she worked in business administration. She was previously on the staff of Palm Bay Hospital and at Hospice of Health First’s William Childs Hospice House in Palm Bay.
She currently works with Dr. Jose Garcia and three other nurse practitioners at 3425 Bayside Lakes Boulevard in Palm Bay.
The practice includes providing primary care, meeting the needs of the community, helping patients understand the importance of preventive medicine and establishing a culture of prevention.
A special focus includes internal medicine and the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus and hypertension.
Isnardi credits her aunt, Cindy, a recently retired nurse who lives on Florida’s West Coast, for her selection of career paths.
“She got me and my two younger cousins interested in nursing,” she said.
The super-busy Isnardi has no spare time to speak of, but when she does, Isnardi tackles tasks that range from feeding the staff at Palm Bay Hospital to building dog parks.
“I love animals,” she said.
She also loves to read, but with the nursing, County Commission and doctorate studies, she hasn’t been able to slow down enough to read a book lately.
Being part of the medical profession and serving in the County Commission provides Isnardi perfect venues to make the difference she aims to make.
“I have always cared about what was happening to my community,” she said.
She served in Palm Bay City Council from 2007 to 2014 and was elected to the County Commission in 2016 to represent District 5, a meandering geographic area that encompasses pieces of Palm Bay, Melbourne and West Melbourne, plus Melbourne Village and even Indialantic.
In November of 2018, her colleagues unanimously elected her as the new chair of the County Commission, succeeding Titusville’s Rita Pritchett.
Isnardi is up for re-election this year and would love to continue serving during these challenging times when Commissioners are racing to help individuals and businesses impacted by the pandemic, which is pretty much everyone in Brevard County.
“We have invested so much, and I am not done yet,” said Isnardi.
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