In light of it being National Nurses Week, we wanted to spend some time listening to the wisdom and experiences of the amazing nurses in our company. Deanne Belcher, who has been in the home care industry for over 30 years, is one of the most outstanding nurses we have on our team. Her experience with things like comprehensive assessments and complicated diagnosis’ give her a unique perspective on how to meet the ever-changing needs of the aging population. In this interview, Deanne shares her thoughts on what it’s like to be in the nursing profession and have a career dedicated to taking care of others.
Q: What is something that people may not know about nurses?
“I always feel like those of us who provide "care" are often seen as very strong and not in need of being a recipient of "care". I think we should do something about caring for those who care. Our jobs are difficult, we are constantly in the "give" mode and many go home from a day’s work completely zapped both physically and mentally. I’m not sure the average person understands how difficult it is to care for someone in pain, hug the daughter of a dying patient, discuss uncomfortable topics, etc.”
Q: What is the best way to show a nurse appreciation?
“I love receiving notes from happy families about the quality of care we provided and how we made a difference in their lives. I love to be pampered and I don’t often pamper myself. Small gifts of flowers or chocolate are always high on my list.”
Q: As an RN in the home care field, what advice do you have for people of all ages that could make a difference in them having healthy longevity?
“PLAN for aging! Have a family meeting before there is a crisis and involve as many people who will participate. Communicate your wishes early and often so each member of the family is aware. Don't be afraid to address the ‘tough stuff’. Assign tasks to each family member so that everyone has an active part. Listen to your loved ones...don't write them off as simply ‘getting old’.”
Q: How is it being an RN and working in the home care industry?
"Working as an RN in the home care industry comes with a completely different set of challenges. In home care, you must think and act quite independently as you don't have the colleagues surrounding you (as you might being a floor nurse). The dynamics of working with clients in their own homes (their turf) is also quite different than in the hospital setting (our turf). I utilize my nursing skills quite often (even in home care sales) to make sure I am assessing needs and providing solutions to assist the entire family unit. Also, as a home care nurse you are often the eyes and ears for the rest of the healthcare team who may not be in contact with the client as often as we are."
Our conversation with Deanne gives a glimpse into the role and responsibility of a nurse. Not only do they monitor and aid to the patients medically and physically, but they’re also there for emotional support for the patient and their families. This is a constant mode of thinking of others first before themselves, much like the role of a family caregiver. Because they’re in a constant state of “give,” it’s important for nurses and caregivers to make time for themselves.
We love the nurses we work with and want to applaud them for their work. We hope that this information has been helpful to give an accurate idea of what it is like to be an RN, how you can show your appreciation for them during Nurses Week and how to better plan for your aging loved one. If you’re care professional in this field, check out our recent piece on how to manage caregiver burnout and stress