Please join us in congratulating our CareerStaff Clinicians of the Month for October 2020: Megan, a CNA from Kentucky; Nanette, an LPN from Michigan; Rosie, an LPN from Connecticut and Rachel, a PT from Washington State.
We’re also thrilled to announce that Megan is also the winner of our quarterly raffle! All of our nominees for Clinician of the Month are included in the raffle, and every three months, we offer a special, additional bonus. So, here’s a big congrats and, more importantly, a THANK YOU to Megan and the rest of the CareerStaff Clinicians of the Month!
And an additional thanks to all the nurses, therapists, pharmacists and other essential professionals working hard to provide care during this difficult time. As always, you are appreciated!
Megan, a CNA who hails from the Bluegrass State and who’s also the proud winner of our quarterly raffle, has been a working clinician for almost two years now. Having transitioned early in her career from assisted living to nursing home care, she’s now worked at CareerStaff for a few months — plenty of time to have some great memories of our amazing recruitment team.
“I was super nervous starting work in a nursing home and was afraid I was going to do my job wrong,” she recalled. “I called Jessica Renn and she helped assure me that I was capable of anything. To stay calm and know that I know what to do. She put me at ease and after my first shift was over at my first nursing home, I was offered a contract that day️.”
Going back a bit further, Megan remembered when she first realized that she was destined for a career in healthcare, telling us a story she says she doesn’t often share.
“I remember the day when I was in the hospital for an eating disorder at the age of 13 and one nurse stuck out to me,” she said. “She was the sweetest, most loving human I had ever met. From that day on I wanted to work in healthcare and be just like her, spreading joy and making others comfortable in uncomfortable situations.”
And she’s certainly been doing just that in the years since. “I feel more fulfilled when I am working,” she said. “I feel as though I have purpose and always leave feeling happy knowing that I did my job right and made others feel good.”
We’re pretty sure that her fond memories are also cherished moments for those she works with. “One resident was very angry and in distress and the only way to calm them down was to sing,” she told us about one such occasion.
“At first I was like … me? You want me to sing? No way! But then I thought about how I need to put the resident first and so I began to sing a Frank Sinatra song and the resident calmed down, smiled and laughed and sang with me. That is a memory I will never forget.”
4 Quick Questions!
What’s the best part of your day? “When I first come in and immediately visit all my residents, greet them, ask them how they slept, give them a hug (before Covid) and make them smile!”
What’s the hardest part of your job? “When there is too much to complete and I have to do it all on my own. When a facility is short staffed — that’s the hardest.”
What inspires you about your job? “I find healthcare to be so fascinating because there are so many different parts to the human body and there is a specialty for each part. I also like that you never know what the next day is going to be like. New experiences every day.”
Any career lessons you’d like to share? “If I can give anyone, no matter what age they are, some advice is, that it’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do in healthcare or in life. You start small, try things out, and if you don’t like it, then move on to another field you think you might enjoy. Don’t feel like you have to be trapped in one spot just because you’re not a doctor. You can do anything and make your own choices. No one but yourself can tell you no.”
“No one but yourself can tell you no.”
Rachel, a physical therapist from Tacoma, has been a clinician for six years and a member of the nationwide network of CareerStaff clinicians for two. She has fond memories of the entire time, but chooses a more recent moment as her favorite: the phone call offering her a contract, “after especially knowing how hard they were looking for me when COVID increased that challenge,” she said.
Rachel first became interested in healthcare as a teenager, when she worked with an inspiring PT.
“I became very intrigued by the fun way the physical therapist had me rehabilitate my sprained ankle in high school. From there, everything kept pointing to ‘physical therapist’!”
Since then, she cites becoming a PT as her greatest personal accomplishment. She also finds continued inspiration in the fact that “the skills I have and the tools I provide patients based on their presentation towards reaching their goals really does make those amazing changes we set out to meet in the end of all the hard work we put in their rehab together.”
Yet it’s a career that’s not without its challenges, she’s quick to acknowledge. The biggest change she’s seen during the course of her career is “the increased time required to complete documentation due to insurance changes/requirements,” she told us.
“This can challenge a good work/personal life balance when unable to complete notes during the workday, and then having to complete them at home.”
4 Quick Questions!
What’s the hardest part of your job? “Trying to get all of my documentation completed in a timely manner :)”
What’s the best part of your day? “Talking to my patients.”
Is there anything you’ve learned that you think other healthcare professionals should know? “Evaluations and the completing the corresponding documentation are still rough! Haha”
What’s your favorite memory about being a clinician? “I don’t have a single favorite memory, but seeing my patient’s excitement when they reach their goals is always awesome!”
Rosie, an LPN from Connecticut, will enter the 25th year of her career in October, 2020. The description offered in her nomination for the CareerStaff Clinicians of the Month by her colleagues sums it up better than we could: “Rosie is a dream clinician,” it begins.
“As you can tell from her responses, her heart is in nursing no matter the circumstances,” it continues. “She has been placed in a facility with over 50 nurse-to-patient ratio and continued to work through any and all difficulties where others would have complained and left.”
As a cancer survivor, Rosie is described as “resilient in both nursing and in life … If you ever speak to her, you can immediately tell she has a heart of gold. The facilities she has worked at have always loved her and wanted to extend her. CareerStaff is lucky to have her!”
We couldn’t agree more — and we’re clearly not the only ones, either. Rosie was also recently voted Employee of the Month for August 2020 at the facility where she’s currently under contract.
“I am the first traveler to ever be awarded that in the history of the building,” she told us. “I had been worried about being on the right nursing path and if I was performing my best for the facility I’m working at. Getting Employee of the month confirmed that I am on the right path.”
Though she’s been a member of the CareerStaff clinicians network of travelers for just under a year, Rosie has touched many lives in that relatively brief period. She told us about an experience working in a Memory Support Unit that had turned a section of its activity room into a nursery …
“Residents entered the room and were in awe of the babies,” she recalled. “Two retired nurses with Alzheimer’s were performing assessments on the baby dolls and showing the onlookers each baby as they finished. It was if they were standing at the nursery window. My heart melted that day.”
Looking back a bit further, Rosie also told us about the time in her life when she first felt the calling of a career in nursing. “I was in my last year of the teaching program at Concord University,” she said. “I literally had a dream. My deceased grandmother told me in the dream that I ‘would serve mankind better as a nurse.’
“I took the entrance exam for the LPN program the following week. Here’s a little secret about me. The day that I entered nursing school, I still passed out at the site of blood. So, I guess you could say that I was destined to be a nurse.”
She’s certainly endured adversity to realize her dream career. She told us that her most meaningful personal accomplishment was beating thyroid cancer, an event intertwined with her career choice.
“I’m currently four years remission,” she said. “I am planning to continue my education and finish my RN that I started over four years ago.”
In the meantime, Rosie draws inspiration from the settings where she works.
“If I’m working in wound care, I strive to get the wound healed,” she said. “If I’m working rehab, my goal is to get that person back up and running, so they may return home. If I’m working geriatrics, I try to make it close to a home-like environment as possible. If I’m working palliative/hospice care, my goal is to make them as comfortable as possible for their transition to their next destination.
“My residents inspire me,” she continued. “I have so many good memories. One that stands out the most is one Halloween, the facility staff and residents dressed up in costumes. The building was decorated with pumpkins, ghosts, etc., that the residents had made. The facility had a party for the residents, and then trick-or-treating with the staff members’ children.
“The residents may have been elderly, but that day they showed how young at heart they were.”
4 Quick Questions!
What’s the best part of your day? “Learning about my residents. Knowing their diagnoses is one thing, but knowing the individual is another. I love to sit and talk, hearing the stories of their lives.”
What’s the hardest part of your job? “The hardest part of my job is the attachment to the residents and leaving— whether I leave an assignment and go to another, or when one of my residents passes away. I look at my residents as if they are my second family.”
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the day-to-day life of the working clinician during your career? “The biggest change I’ve seen has to be since COVID arrived. Constantly wearing masks and goggles in a normal setting, but full PPE with N95 in COVID settings. Prior to COVID, I would’ve said going from pen and paper to computerized charting. That was a big change for this ‘old-school nurse.’”
Is there anything you’ve learned that might benefit other nurses? “There is so much to share with others, but I have three.
- I learn something new every day, so keep an open mind.
- I have learned so much over the years from the CNAs. They are the eyes and ears on the floor with your residents.
- One last thing to share would be not to look down on those with credentials lower than yours, because you may end up learning something from that individual.”
Nanette, an LPN from Grand Rapids and a member of the CareerStaff Unlimited network for more than four years now, has an even longer tenure as a clinician: “I started at the age of 16 as a CNA and worked for 2 and a half years until I graduated with my LPN,” she told us, “and I have since worked as a LPN for 39 years.”
That’s right — just under four decades of service, and all inspired by a memorable incident from childhood.
“When I was 15, my sister was in a severe car accident and I was her caregiver,” she recalled. “I went to all physical therapy appointments, and cared for her daily needs at home. During that time of my sister’s recovery, it heightened my interest in practicing medicine and caring for others. During that same year in high school, I took the year-long class to become a CNA.”
Nanette’s favorite memory as a nurse came soon in her career: “Shortly after I became an LPN, I was working the midnight shift in the pediatric ward, and I had my first code on a one-month old infant. Suffering from a severe case of pneumonia, he had a very slim chance of surviving, but with my quick action and all of our teamwork he survived and had a full recovery.”
In her current role as a clinical manager, Nanette works hard to promote teamwork and professional growth among those she manages: “I truly enjoy seeing people overcome the adversities and challenges that have impacted their lives,” as she told us.
“It’s such an amazing feeling to have the opportunity to be a helpful part in the successful progress of a patient. It’s such a pleasure to watch a new nurse or CNA learn and grow in their skills and abilities in being able to provide phenomenal care to those who are left in their care. It’s such an honor to be a part of guiding them along as they progress in their careers.
“As clinical manager, and lead educator for our staff, it’s an honor to watch our staff grow in their knowledge and skills. I am honored to lead a team that is passionate and dedicated to providing the best possible care for our veterans who have given EVERYTHING for us.”
Nanette shared a memorable event during a staff meeting that showcased the importance of compassion, as well as a clever way to bring the lesson home.
“I was teaching a patient simulation for patients suffering from dementia and I needed to make it fun so the students would not lose interest,” she said. “So, I instructed them to place cotton balls in their ears, place lotion smeared sunglasses over their eyes (so their vision was severely impaired), place one marble in either their right or left shoe, as well as one marble under their bottoms (so they were sitting on it).
“I then instructed them to put on their gloves. After doing so, I instructed them to ask the person next to them if they had any particular food allergies, followed by asking what type of ice cream they wanted and what toppings they would like on top.
“After each order was taken, they were told to go and prepare that specific ice cream order, but also to intentionally make it incorrectly. After doing so, they were instructed to go back and sit down next to one other. They were then told to feed one bite of their ice cream to each other, but only when I instructed them to do so.
“Whilst doing this, I asked them to remember three numbers and three words without writing them down. We continued with the meeting giving them random information to try and remember. During the same time, I was telling them when and how to give each other a bite of ice cream. We were having a lot of fun.
“After eating, the students had to take a written test still with the cotton balls in their ears, lotion sunglasses on, as well as their gloves. They could not remember what they were required to remember during the course of the meeting (which only consisted of the previously said three numbers and three words). Most of them wrote ‘I can’t remember’ as an answer for the three words, and few could remember the three numbers.
“The goal of this experiment was for the students to have a proper understanding of the true limitations and difficulties of each patient, and to consider how they go about providing proper care for these people. It provided a different perspective in which they were placed in ‘the patient’s shoes,’ so to speak.
“The session provided a deeper impact on the students’ understanding of the patients’ disabilities, and helped promote the lesson that patience and compassion are imperative to providing quality care.
“Also, it was a blast!”
4 Quick Questions!
What’s the best part of your day? “Seeing our patients/members smile and be happy and well cared for. The same goes for my staff as well. Seeing a patient and/or a staff member achieve a goal they’ve been working very hard toward is such a pleasure.”
What’s the hardest part of your job? “Watching a patient nearing the end of his or her life whom you have cared for during an extended period of time, as well as comforting their families during that difficult time.”
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen over the past four decades? “The biggest change that I have noticed would be that patients can be more involved in their care. They are able and allowed to make more decisions regarding their care as well as having more choices available.”
Is there anything you’ve learned that’d you like to share with other healthcare professionals? “Teamwork is ESSENTIAL! Your team is only as strong as your weakest member. Supporting each other is VITAL, even if there are existing animosities amongst your team. Always give 110% and leave the drama at the door. A strong work ethic is essential for success.”
Interested in joining professionals like Nanette, Rosie, Rachel and Megan in America’s leading clinical staffing network? We’ve got opportunities from coast to coast! Learn more about the benefits of working with CareerStaff here, or start searching for a new opportunity now.