The story is common: a young girl sees the hard work and dedication displayed by her mother as she gets ready for another overnight shift at the hospital. The girl watches as her mother prepares for what will be a tough night, donning her nurse’s uniform and her hair held up tight. The girl watches in the morning as her mother comes home and without even taking off the uniform, begins preparing the girl breakfast and getting her ready for school. Her mother personifies the American Dream. A hard working, passionate and compassionate person. The work she does is tough, but she never complains. It is a summation of these moments that drive the girl towards following the same career. It is these moments where she decides she wants to be a nurse.
In deciding what career someone wants to follow, a role-model plays a very important part in that decision. Many people enter a family business or follow in the footsteps of their parents. Alice, a registered nurse with Berks Visiting Nurse Association, knew her mother’s work was difficult but wanted to follow her into the medical field.
“She’s in critical care nursing.” Alice says. “She’s done that for 40 plus years.” But Alice wasn’t sure if nursing is where she wanted to be.
“I knew I wanted to be in the medical field after coming out of high school.” She glances off, recalling. “But it was my mother that said ‘Why don’t you go into nursing’” After a 3 year program, she graduated and ended up working at a hospital for 10 years.
Over that 10 year period, she ended up hearing more and more about home care and the options that it provides for patients. This curiosity matched with the increasingly fast paced nature of the hospital lead Alice to home care.
“Why don’t you give it a try?” Her mother had told her. She did, and years later, she says that it was all worth it. “I’m really glad I chose this.”
But home care is completely different than in a hospital setting. A nurse will often have to move between patients in a matter of minutes at a hospital, but the visiting nurses often have time between home visits. “I don’t feel like I’m rushed. I get to collect my thoughts. I get to prepare for the next patient and refocus on their needs. It helps with your patient care.”
Ultimately, the ability to provide care in a patient’s home is a huge draw to home care. ”You are going into [a patient’s] home and you never know what to expect.” She smiles. “But it’s more personal.” Alice has a variety of patients and many of them stick out in her mind for different reasons.
“You’re in there for 45 minutes to an hour. You get to talking and you start to know everyone in that house on a first name basis.” Home care usually allows for more personalized care which allows for the patients to feel more comfortable asking questions. That rapport between the visiting nurse and a client is extremely important. “They can trust you to take care of them in their home.”
Alice feels that this is one of the main draws of going into the home care field. “It makes you feel like what you’re doing is worth it.” The patients come from a variety of backgrounds and have a number of needs, but something as simple as a conversation tends to become an important part of care. “They really appreciate their nurses.”
Alice recommends home care to anyone that asks. “There is just so much you can do with nursing.” She’s thankful for her mother suggesting she look into it. The quality of care and connection that you make with patients stands out as one of the best things about home care. “Give it a shot. It makes you feel like you can make a difference. “