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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Life at the Nursing Center

I've often mentioned my job; it's a big part of my life since I work full time. I work as a nurse in a skilled nursing facility.  We are a small place - only 60 beds.  I really like that size.  It means that I know every resident quite well, I know the family members and all the staff.  We have a lot of long term residents, but also have quite a few people who come for rehabilitation and then go home.  Today I'm going to share a few stories, that show why I like my job!

I work with lots of wonderful people!  We have a great team, and I appreciate the way we work together and don't feel like we are all separate departments.

This little note and pill were left at the nurses station for my nursing partner Larisa. 
Our activity director found this little pill in a doorway and thought she would return it in a fun way.  We have a lot of laughter and teasing going on, and we include many of the residents in it.  Most of them love it.    :)

Just like the general public, we have residents who maintain a good attitude and also those who tend to be a bit cranky and when we get a laugh out of them, it's a big accomplishment.  A few weeks ago, one of our ladies was sitting near the nurses station looking rather angry.  I asked if she was ok and said something about her not looking very happy.  Her response?  "I'm always happy, I just don't often choose to show it!"  She did crack a little smile when she said that, and it's true - she rarely shows it.

We have another lady who seems to have decided that she would rather go without clothes.  We have to keep a close watch on her, because it would be a bit shocking for a visitor to walk in and see her sitting in the front lounge with nothing on her top half!

This past week we had a 3-11 nurse who needed a few days off for a family members surgery, so I went back to work in the evening and did half of her shift, from 7-11.  One of our men who has dementia was restless and didn't want to go to bed, so I had him sit at the nurses station with me while I did some charting.  He is 97 years old and is a WWII vet.  On this night he was reliving those years.  He told me about getting the letter telling him to report.  He then trained at Fort Custer and then went out west.  While there he bought an old Model A for $89.50, fixed it up and drove it around.  When he shipped out, he sold it for $100.  He spent time in London, camped near the Eiffel tower, was in Germany and while in Italy, he heard that Hitler was dead.   I love hearing these memories!

There are sad times too.  I've been present at many deaths.  Deaths in our facility are often a time of mixed emotions.  It's always hard to lose a loved one, but when they are Christians who are elderly and have health issues, it's a blessing to know they are no longer struggling and are with the Lord.  Recently I was with a man and his daughter as he passed.  She was holding his hand and telling him "It's ok Dad.  We'll take care of mom.  You can go home".  I was holding his other hand and we both had tears running down our faces.  It was sad, but such a blessing to know he had accepted Christ in his youth and now he would no longer struggle with Alzheimer's and other health issues.  It's a sacred time, and a privilege to be allowed to be present.

Yes - there are tears, stress and frustration - but there is also laughter, fun and joy!

19 comments:

Mildred said...

What a blessing you are to so many. It's nice that your facility is small enough that you get to know the patients and their family members. Having been caretaker to both parents, and having the support of Hospice during mother's final days, I am so grateful for nurses like you for your love and devotion. May the Lord richly bless you, Mari.

Terri D said...

Mari, bless you and your fellow nurses who do so much for so many. It was a privilege for me to be with my dad, my brother, and my dear mother-in-law when they died. I understand exactly what you mean. Bless you!

Bethany Carson said...

Enjoyed hearing about your work. You have a wonderful job, and I'm sure, make a difference in so many lives.

Jennifer said...

I always love to hear about your work, Mari. You are a very compassionate and thoughtful nurse, a true credit to your field.

Simply Linda said...

Mari, I always love to hear about your day...thank you for sharing. Blessings

Arlene Grimm said...

Mari, geriatric nursing is only for special nurses! And you are one of them. I hope when I am old and I do not want to wear clothes, i will have a compassionate and caring nurse like you! When we were in nursing school we worked three months at a geriatric facility and we had one lady who went from room to room taking items of clothing and putting them on. She liked the Layered look.:)

Judy said...

I remember the night my mother passed away, there was a resident in her wheelchair sitting at the nurses station because she couldn't sleep :) I thought that was so nice, and after my mother passed one of the patient care workers who would come and turn her and change her in her last hours came and gave my mother a hug and kiss and said good-bye. That really touched my heart.
Thanks for sharing your stories.
I would have loved to have listened to your 97 year old friend :)

Connie said...

You better still be working when I move in...and don't let me go without clothes. Lol. Really though you are a blessing to so many.

Cheryl said...

What a sweet, touching post! I felt like I was right there with you. I used to work in a place like this, as a young teenage girl. It made a huge impact upon my life and taught me to be empathetic and kinder to the elderly. We are all heading that way, and we will want someone to be good to us. Jesus said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." There will be someone there to minister to you when you need it, sweet friend. What a blessing you are to so many! Have a wonderful day!

Doris said...

And now I'm missing my former job! I loved bringing joy, hearing stories, giving and getting hugs, seeing life in eyes of those who thought their life was over because of having to live in a nursing home....thanks for sharing! You are a kind and compassionate nurse.

Karen said...

I enjoyed reading this, Mari. You are so blessed, as are the residents you care for so tenderly.

Patsy said...

Life, how sad it would be with out people like you.

Ceil said...

Hi Mari! Like Patsy said...
To be there with a family member while a loved one dies is an amazing place to be. Such a comfort for the daughter!
The lovely relationship you have with your teammates is great too. The work you do is tough, and having great people around you is such a blessing. It makes it all so worthwhile!
I would love to hear the stories of the 97 year old gentleman too. Isn't it amazing how we can remember things from SO long ago?
Hope you had a blessed Easter,
Ceil

Sally said...

Mari - your caring and loving heart reaches many, I'm sure. And, I love reading the stories of your patients. It's strange that I am now reading your post today, instead of yesterday, and spoke of Alzheimer's as well.

I had a book once that I can't find - it was from a friend in Canada; she and her husband visited nursing homes and wrote their stories into a book.

xoxo

Cherdecor said...

I always enjoy reading about your work in the nursing home. You have a very interesting and rewarding job. You are truly gifted to do what you do.

Betsy Brock said...

Loved this...what a rewarding job! So happy you love it...a nice variety of busyness, stress, laughter and eternal rewards!

Carrie B. said...

What a lovely post Mari. ;) Caregivers in all capacities are such gifts - and that's what you are to those residents and families - a beautiful gift. I remember such fun times when I worked in a similar environment. My fellow co-workers were truly like another family to me.

I had tears in my eyes as I read about being with many of those folks at the end of their lives and it brings back such memories for me. I also felt incredibly blessed to be part of those end of life issues with residents and their families in my social work days. It was so often even a beautiful moment in time and I felt so honored to be part of it with them.

Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane for me. ;)
Blessings. xoxo

Jenny said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again: They are so fortunate to have you. And I mean both the residents and your colleagues. When death is imminent for so many, and could happen at any time, it's good to have someone there who understands the key to eternal life in heaven. I've never seen anyone die but I hope if I ever do, it's to witness someone who, once absent from the body, will be present with the Lord. xoxo

Kimberly Hoyt said...

Wow! These stories show how much your job is your vocation, not just a paycheck. You obviously love your people, and it shines through.