Frontline Heroes: Nurses’ Compassion Helps Others Heal
A nurse advocates for their patients. A nurse has empathy. A nurse has patience. A nurse has intelligence. A nurse serves without hesitation.
~ Barbara Bailey, LPN, Navaho Drive Behavioral Health Outpatient clinic in Wake County
Frontline workers such as registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPNs) have been in the spotlight during the past year in large part due to the services they continue to deliver during the pandemic and their tireless roles providing critical health care.
Director of Nursing Selina Olomua, MSN, BSN, RN, said Monarch nurses are regarded as frontline heroes because they continue to provide critical, compassionate mental health care to people who need it most.
“We are grateful for the nurses who offer excellent care for the people Monarch supports. People healing from mental illness are strong and can flourish with our support, care and guidance,” Olomua commented. “Behavioral health nurses are there for the journey, the ups and downs, one day at a time and as long as the people we support need us.”
All levels of nurses are needed in physician’s offices, hospital environments, education and mental health care, which employs nurses to serve people diagnosed with mental illness or intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as healing from substance use disorders. Across the state, Monarch employs over 70 nurses with staff working in long-term services and supports, behavioral health outpatient services and facility-based crisis centers.
The Road to Becoming A Nurse
Nurses often have personal motivation for pursuing the degree and for others it can be attributed to a natural instinct of caring for others.
Danielle Hawkins, LPN, a nurse at the Cleveland Behavioral Health Outpatient clinic, explained that she joined the profession after the death of her infant daughter in 2004. She passionately shared that the lack of compassionate care she received while giving birth and hospitalized following her daughter’s death impacted her profoundly: “I want to make sure that no one goes through what I did if they are cared for by me. As a nurse, I give all my patients the care and compassion I can offer.”
With Monarch almost two years, Nathaniel Coley, RN, lead nurse for the Assertive Community Treatment Team (ACTT) in Stanly County, said he decided to enter nursing later in life earning his degree in his early 40s. ”Nursing is my calling. It is my opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others,” he shared.
Jay Brooks, BS, ADN, RN, who works at Greensboro Facility Based Crisis Center in Guilford County, entered nursing after he tragically lost his son, Ryan, in a car accident in 2004. Following his son’s death, he dealt with depression, and ultimately lost his business, family and home. “Now, as a registered nurse at Monarch, I am serving people like me,” he said, adding that nursing has offered him a way and the opportunity to save a person’s life.
The Reward of Being a Nurse
Aside from coordinating telehealth appointments, performing assessments, reaching out to identify community resources needed or administering medication treatment, a nurse’s day is never the same.
Hawkins described the most rewarding part of her role as “being an advocate for your patient letting them know they have someone in their corner they can depend on and will do their best to help them.”
Barbara Bailey, LPN, a nurse at the Navaho Drive Behavioral Health Outpatient clinic in Wake County, said the variety of tasks she has the opportunity to provide for the people we support makes every day different and rewarding: “I go home every night knowing that during my day someone has been helped and aided by this practice and will wake up to see another day.”
Carolyn Caple, LPN, who has been caring for the medically fragile children at Pence Place children’s group home in Rockingham for over 12 years, said the fulfilling feeling she experiences at the end of her day is reward enough. “The feeling I get when I help others is amazing. I get to see them grow and learn new things,” she said.
Coley feels job satisfaction when he sees a burden eased from a person supported or their family. “When I see the appreciation in the person supported and family and they feel I provided the best care, that is when I know I have made a real difference,” he said.
Words of Wisdom to Future and Fellow Nurses
Caring for others in health care environments can take its toll on health care staff and nursing is no exception. Tenured nurses working within the health care field can offer valuable advice to future and fellow nurses.
Quemella Holland, RN, who is on the ACT team serving Mecklenburg and Union Counties, advised to ask lots of questions about becoming a nurse, be flexible and treat people you care for on an individual basis and to take care of yourself. “The pandemic has been a reminder that life is fragile and family is everything,” she said.
Shavone Brant, LPN, at Monarch’s Lumberton Behavioral Health Outpatient clinic, urged future and fellow nurses to maintain the latest knowledge in the field as well as a healthy lifestyle, taking vacations so as to not experience burn out. “I have learned in the past year to have clear communication, express appreciation toward each other, support each other and to lift each other up,” she advised.
Brooks advised to always consider that the person seeking services may have gone through trauma just before seeking treatment. “Be compassionate, caring, understanding and never judge them on their first appearance but take the time to really get to know them,” he shared.
If you are interested in becoming a Monarch nurse or would like to view positions available, check out the careers website page for roles available across North Carolina, email jobs@MonarchNC.org or call (704) 986-1550.
Posted on: Friday April 30, 2021