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Caring for one person, as the saying goes, is love. Caring for hundreds is nursing. During National Nurses Week, Good Shepherd Nursing Home honored the 147 members of the nursing staff who provide compassionate care for its residents around the clock, including nine women who have served there for decades: Debbie Baum, Teresa Fekete, Theresa Goddard, Debbie Malena, Karen Olejasz, Dawn Palmer, Fabiola Prianti, Edie Taylor and Laura Villarreal.
Sue O’Connell, RN, Good Shepherd Director of Nursing, sees something special in the relationships that nurses have with Good Shepherd residents. “The nurses here are the most dedicated that I have seen in my career,” she said. “They become part of the family. It’s a unique relationship.”
Good Shepherd recognized the important work of its nurses with a luncheon and small gifts of appreciation. “They are really the heart of this place,” Ms. O’Connell said. As part of the luncheon, a chaplain from Amedysis Hospice Care will bless the hands of the nurses so that they may continue to bring comfort and healing to the residents for whom they care.
Randy Forzano, Good Shepherd HR Director, said nurses go beyond the technical delivery of care. “They take care of residents’ body, mind and spirit,” he said. “They’re also a lifeline for residents’ families, especially those who live out of town.”
Both his parents were Good Shepherd residents, he said. Just before his mother died, Forzano noticed an angel statue in her room, and wondered where it came from. “The nurses told me that everybody needs an angel at times,” he said. “They began placing the angel in the room of residents who were very ill or needed a little extra care.” The lovely tradition provided comfort to him and his family during a difficult time, he said.
Keeping Good Shepherd staffed with talented nurses can be a challenge since so many are required, Forzano said. More than half of Good Shepherd’s 280 employees are on the nursing staff. “We’re always eager to hire good nurses, including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants.” Good Shepherd offers Nursing Assistant classes three times a year. Ms. O’Connell said a number of Good Shepherd’s registered nurses started out as aides, became certified nursing assistants and then worked to earn their RN credentials.
Good Shepherd offers excellent benefits, Forzano said, for which nurses become eligible 30 days after hiring. These include health and life insurance as well as dental and vision coverage. He encouraged people interested in learning about open positions to visit http://weltyhome.org/category/jobs/.
“This is a good place for nurses,” Forzano said. “The administrators here understand and respect nurses, and provide the tools they need to do their jobs.”