When Nursing is in the Family

October 25, 2021
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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For LPN Kathy Reynold, nursing isn’t just an occupation. It’s become a part of her family. Her mother was a nurse, so when she was looking to change careers, becoming a phlebotomist felt like a natural step. But, it wasn’t too long before Kathy found her calling in home health care. Today, she works as a pediatric nurse for Care Options for Kids.

However, nursing hasn’t been without its challenges. Kathy currently works as a night nurse. Her client is a young boy who has trouble sleeping at night and demonstrates self-injury behavior. She explained the progress that they’ve made.

“Throughout the night, I have to constantly redirect him back to sleep and prevent him from harming himself. He will hit himself to the point of bleeding. However, that hasn’t happened since he’s had nursing care in place.”

Kathy lives for those growth moments. She loves making an impact on a child’s life. But, seeing her client’s progress get to a point where they no longer need home health care is a bitter-sweet moment.

“I had a client who was an open-heart patient. I’d been caring for him for about a year. And, he was ultimately discharged. In that whole time, he was [in critical condition], but he never got sick, and he never ended up in the hospital. He ultimately got better enough to the point that his family could care for them on their own, and he no longer needed nursing care. I was sad to see the discharge but at the same time happy to see he progressed and got better.”

With more than 30 years of nursing experience and 28 of those years in home health care, Kathy has seen and experienced a lot — not just with her clients but also with how organizations treat their nurses. That’s why she was so pleasantly surprised when she discovered Care Options for Kids.

“There was a time in home health when you got no benefits, no kind of insurance, no kind of retirement, nothing. When I came to work with Care Options for Kids, I was pleasantly surprised that they offered health insurance, life insurance, 401K, and a full benefits package. It has been a lifesaver for me.”

Benefits aren’t the only thing that stands out about her current employer, though. In her 30 years of nursing, Kathy has worked all kinds of shifts — from day to night. And, when her son picked up a job during the day, she knew she would need to stay home to be with their dogs. This meant switching to the night shift.

“I absolutely feel supported by my scheduler — she’s awesome. She keeps in touch with me and listens to my needs. She works really hard to find situations that work for me and that work for the company. We have dogs at home that need to be cared for, so when my son’s schedule changed, I switched from day to night shifts. Care Options for Kids was very accommodating. Within a few days, they had a new schedule for me that worked with my life.”

Nursing provides Kathy with a lot of flexibility that she wouldn’t be able to find in other careers. For anyone looking to get into nursing or home health care, Kathy shared some unique wisdom.

“You should stick it out with a particular company and establish yourself. Let them know what you’re interested in doing and take advantage of all the opportunities they offer you. As a new nurse, I never had any vent, G-tube, or trach experience. And, that’s all something I learned doing home health.”

Kathy smiled, thinking about her experience and what she’s learned during the past 28 years in home health. “I have friends who are RNs that I could work circles around because I know way more about that equipment, and I have more knowledge about disease processes that you don’t necessarily see in the hospitals.”

It’s easy to see that Kathy loves home health. From becoming a part of her client’s families to seeing them grow up and thrive, she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. “I love being a nurse because it has afforded me the ability to take care of other people. It makes me feel satisfied and grateful that I’ve accomplished something in my life.”