I was born and raised down south in east Tennessee, but I now call Menomonie, WI my home. I live there with my husband Jason and our two boys, Kamden and Kahne. My boys busy schedule don’t allow much free time, but if given a spare minute I will likely have a book in hand. I love a good thrift sale and can often be found cheering on my boys at their many sporting events. I have been with Comforts of Home since 2012, mostly working as the campus RN for the Menomonie buildings. Comforts of Home is the perfect mix of nursing with care planning and relationship building. Working with the elderly has provided me with more smiles and rewards that I could possible count.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a small child I always wanted to be a teacher. I had so many teachers who were instrumental to my success as a student that I knew I wanted to be just like them! While in high school my great grandma was quite ill and I watched as my dad helped take care of her, I think that is the point I thought something in health care might be more fitting. Watching my dad have such compassion and caring with his grandma was heartwarming. It was the “awe ha” moment that I changed my career path to something that would allow me to care for others in their time of need.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
Weird as it sounds, as I am rarely home, but I don’t love traveling either. I like to “keep it local”. We spend a lot of time running our boys from event to event, which I love, but please don’t take me to a big city or touristy spot for vacation. I went to New York City once, enough for a lifetime! We like to camp, fish, enjoy sporting events and just be together—but keep us close to home!
What has surprised you most in your career thus far?
I was raised with a strong faith, which has carried me through many turbulent times working in long term care assisting the elderly. While working in a different care facility my male patient was near end of life while his grieving wife sat bedside. I was pretty new to nursing and still working through just how I was going to get through the death part as frequent as it seemed I might need to. I was overcome with emotion and quite embarrassed with myself for not being able to “keep it together” to support my patients wife. She stood and asked if she could pray with me. In her grief she could sense my inexperience and need for comfort in that moment. I was supposed to be her shoulder when she became mine. This career comes with many highs and lows, many rewards, many laughs and also many losses. Sometimes you are that person to someone, and sometimes that right person is there at the right time for you as well.
What is your personal ‘Why’?
Personally if I showed you my why I would show you a picture of two smiling boys, my children. Some days I want to pack their stuff and mail them away (teens and pre-teens are rough J), but most days they are the very reason I stay motivated to be the example they need, to lead them to be happy successful adults.
Professionally my why is to make a difference, if only small I want to positively influence those around me. I believe if you work hard at something, the rewards will be abundant. Never lose sight of what is most important and remember happiness with meaning provides biggest contribution.
What has been an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of in your work?
The many families we have served through what could be one of the most confusing and difficult times of their lives. Often time’s families walk through our doors with many questions and many fears. Their mother, father, sister or brother is needing care more than they can continue to provide. It’s rewarding to see the relief once they realize there is help available. It’s rewarding to help them make the transition to a care facility and make the transition smooth and effortless. The many thanks we receive almost daily far outweigh any obstacles we face. The many smiles, hugs, and laughs our residents provide us remind us daily that we are making a difference.