RN Diane Pennington Dedicates Her Entire Life To Home Healthcare

July 6, 2019
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Diane Pennington has been a registered nurse for over 40 years. She has spent half of her career in hospitals, and the past 20 years in home healthcare. She joined Care Options for Kids in 2005, and since 2017, she has been working 12-hour shifts as a pediatric RN to help take care of 14-year-old G.M.

G.M. has chromosomal disorders trisomy 16 and 22, a trach, a G-Tube, and a J-Tube. She needs care at night because she doesn’t take deep enough breaths while sleeping, so Diane hooks her up to a ventilator and makes sure she’s sleeping peacefully. “Her parents take care of her during the day, then I come over for my overnight shift so that they can sleep.”

She cannot eat. She is fed through her G Tube. Both of her parents are runners, and she loves being pushed in her stroller and going with them to races. They also love to go camping together as a family.

“I show up for my shifts at night, so her mom has already fed and bathed her. On a typical night, I’ll play or sing with her, or watch a movie. Even though she can’t talk, she still likes to be a part of the conversation and makes sounds through her Passy Muir valve. She does spend most of my shifts sleeping since she does have to go to school during the day. She’s actually a very active girl during the daytime.”

Diane is grateful that she has been able to find such meaningful work in a place where she enjoys being a part of the team. “My experience with Care Options for Kids has been great. I’ve been with them for about 14 years, and so far, I don’t have any complaints. Any time there may be any problems or questions about specific cases, we can call anyone at the office, and they’ll help. They also keep us up to date on all our training and continuing education courses, so that’s been really good.”

She loves doing pediatric home healthcare because it allows her to form an ongoing bond with her clients and be a part of their progress. It also gives children like G.M. the opportunity to have a fuller life. “Since I make sure that she sleeps well, she gets to do all of the fun activities that she loves to do throughout the day, and that makes me happy.”

Diane holds G.M.’s parents in high regard because of their unfaltering dedication and their extensive knowledge of what this care requires.

“Some parents have learned so much about their child’s medical condition and treatments that they could be grandfathered in as doctors or nurses. Truly, many learn from the world-renowned physicians they have, due to the complexity of some of their conditions. This mom in particular is one of them. I have been working for this agency for almost 14 years, and the mom has been taking care of her daughter for even longer. She has many things to teach me.”