Called to Nursing

Since her days as a rhino, Torie Snyder Pearce ’04 has been inspired by Taft’s motto, Not to be served but to serve. In fact, a strong resonance with Non ut sibi is ultimately part of what inspired her to become a pediatric nurse and to cofound Urgent Care for Kids, an urgent care company specializing in pediatrics with multiple locations across Texas.

Pearce and her husband, Kevin, started Urgent Care for Kids seven years ago. Kevin had been working for a medical development company and identified pediatric specific urgent care centers as a largely underserved space. He and his business partner spent five years doing due diligence and becoming experts in this niche area before completing the business plan and launching Urgent Care for Kids with Torie in 2011.

Urgent Care for Kids’ clinics are open afternoons, nights, and weekends—times when it’s typically difficult to get into a pediatrician’s office or when offices tend to be closed. The company prides itself on being able to offer affordable care, and all clinics staff board-certified doctors. Unlike many pediatric offices, Urgent Care for Kids clinics are able to provide X-ray exams, sutures, lab tests and cultures, splinting, and non-emergent exams.

Originally from San Diego, Pearce didn’t always envision herself as a nurse. When she graduated from Southern Methodist University in 2008, she planned to pursue a career in finance, but quickly realized the industry wasn’t for her. Seeking a more fulfilling trajectory, she applied to nursing school on a whim.

“I didn’t know for sure that I wanted to be a nurse—what I did know was that I’d always loved helping people,” Pearce explains. “My aunt is a nurse, and it just seemed like a line of work that I was called to. But quitting my job and enrolling in nursing school was definitely a leap of faith.”

Shortly after starting at Dallas Nursing Institute, Pearce met her husband when their career paths aligned. She graduated as a registered nurse in 2011, and has never second-guessed her chosen profession.

“Being a nurse is not for the faint of heart,” Pearce says of her career. “It takes a strong medical background, a strong stomach, and a lot of compassion, but it’s so incredibly meaningful to me. By far, the most rewarding part of my job is providing comfort and a sense of calm to my patients. No kid likes going to the doctor, so when I can bring a smile to a patient and distract them, if only for a minute, that’s the biggest reward.”

Now with 10 locations and approximately 200 employees across Dallas, Houston, and Austin, Urgent Care for Kids plans to double in size over the next few years. The company also offers VirtualPediatrics, a specialized online telemedicine service that is available throughout Texas. Through this advanced virtual platform, patients can receive access to top pediatric providers from their own homes.

Pearce’s empathetic spirit is certainly an inherent trait, but she credits Taft for broadening her scope in a way that shaped her professional abilities.

“Taft exposed me to so many people all from different walks of life,” she says. “The ability to attend school with people from all over the country has really widened my perspective and enabled me to connect with patients on a much deeper level.”

Pearce and her husband, who have been married since 2011, are now based in Austin, where they’re busy raising two young children and spearheading their company that touches so many lives every day.

—Carola Lovering ’07