Pence Place Home Nurses Provide Compassionate Care for Youth
Pence Place Home, a Monarch group home for children with mental illness and/or intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), is filled with the sounds of children – laughing, talking, sometimes crying.
The Pence Place nursing staff is accustomed to the often-noisy work environment and strive each day to help the children grow and thrive while providing the best care possible.
Nursing and direct support professional staff care for nine children at the Monarch location who range in age from infants and toddlers to high school students diagnosed with mental health and/or I/DD. Four of the nine children are medically fragile and require constant nursing care.
The nursing staff, which consists of two registered nurses (RNs) and seven licensed practical nurses (LPNs), learn what facial expressions, gestures or sounds mean for each child if they can’t communicate through words. They watch the children grow, thrive and move on to the next stage in their lives.
It takes a special kind of nurse to provide the care that Pence Place children need with a combination of empathy and enthusiasm when they walk through Pence Place doors. Judy Crowley, RN, Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Nursing Supervisor, believes “a lot of nurses run from mental health. You have to be cut out for this field.”
For Judy, the most rewarding part of being a nurse is seeing children supported reach their goals: “Watching a person we serve succeed and meet the goals they have for themselves is reward in itself as well as seeing them inspire others who have mental illness or intellectual or developmental disabilities.”
Judy recalls a 6-year-old Pence Place resident who was told by doctors she would never walk. “After several years of care at Monarch and therapy with staff, she learned to walk and it brought so much joy to my heart. She could almost run!” she recalls of her growth with the help of Monarch staff.
Sheryl Davis, LPN, at Pence Place, aims to bring her skills, knowledge, empathy and open mind to her role. “The children we serve have taught me that everyone needs a chance at life. We are all the same but yet different,” she says, noting the professional joy of watching children grow from toddlers to adolescents and reaching their goals.
Sheryl said the challenges of being a nurse are exciting and rewarding: “A typical day for me is providing direct care, administering medications and paying close attention to non-verbal cues from the children.”
Caring for children can also mean saying goodbye when they become well enough to return to their families or graduate to another level of care. Shery recalls a young boy who came to Pence Place with his twin sister at three months old. He received support and care, becoming well enough to be released from Monarch. “His successes put a smile on my face every time I think of that child,” she says.
Carolyn Caple, RN, has been part of the Monarch nursing staff for 14 years with the past year at Pence Place. Her love of nursing started in high school when she joined a club in which she had the opportunity to visit a local hospital.
Pence Place nursing tasks range from diaper changes and feeding to putting away groceries and ordering supplies. Caring for people in the mental health and LTSS fields has taught her that small achievements can be the most impactful. “The people we serve can do things if we just encourage and support them no matter how small or simple a task it may seem to us, but it is a great accomplishment for them. We should praise them for a great job,” she says.
Working in nursing means no day is the same but each day has the potential to be fulfilling and rewarding. “I know that the people we support have bad days and my job is to help reduce the number of bad days. It can be something as simple as talking with them, coloring a picture, sitting with them, asking them why they are feeling sad or upset and simply seeing what they need or want,” Carolyn explains.
What does being a nurse mean to her? “Being a nurse is more than a job or position. It is a calling to take care of the sick and injured. Anyone can study hard and become a nurse, but a nurse that looks at the work as a calling is one that is effective, efficient, confident, caring and compassionate about the job and the people he or she is taking care of,” Carolyn believes.
For information about nursing positions open at Monarch across North Carolina LTSS and behavioral health locations, please visit here.
Posted on: Thursday May 4, 2023