National Nurses Week takes place May 6th through May 12th. The week kicks off on May 6th which is National Nurses Day and ends on the 12th, which is Florence Nightingale’s birthday, with the goal to recognize the contributions that nurses and nursing contribute to the assisted living community. This year’s theme is: Nurses Make a Difference: Anytime, Anywhere – Always. Honoring the unwavering commitment of nurses to their patients, and the value they provide to the unified health care team in accomplishing their medical readiness mission.
Working in the front lines is nothing new for nurses, they have fought to save lives through the decades.
Through wars, disasters, epidemics, pandemics and day to day health challenges they help family and friends navigate through unpredictable times. Nurses provide essential care to those who are suffering and ill. Nurses continually put their lives on the line while treating patients, residents, and those in need.
COVID 19 really put healthcare workers to the test. Nurses had the job of being beside the dying patients, comforting them while their families weren’t allowed near them. They had to wear PPE gear at all times, comfort the sick and dying, and deal with the stress of watching their coworkers get sick and die as well. They risked their lives each and every day, trying to save others, all while knowing the risks they faced.
At The Arbors and Ivy Assisted Living Communities, we are so lucky to have our nurses and caregivers.
Without the dedication and hard work from our nursing team we wouldn’t have been able to get back to our new normal so quickly. Our nursing team provides the best quality care, our residents are their number one priority, and they are dedicated to keeping everyone safe and healthy within our communities. The roles of nurses for the elderly have been demanding in today’s world. The type of care that the elderly need is specific to their ages, and the nurses must provide appropriate care based on their needs.
We have been very lucky as a company, our senior management team is made up of three amazing nurses who have dedicated their careers to providing the best care possible for our residents. Ed Walters-Zucco, RN our Regional Nurse, Lisa Holt, RN our COO and Nellie Vieira, RN our Regional Executive Director. We have always felt having nurses on our senior management team has allowed us to make decisions that prioritize the quality of care for our residents. Decisions are made with an extra level of empathy and compassion with the nursing perspective in the forefront.
I had the opportunity to sit down with Ed Walters-Zucco, RN, our Regional Nurse for The Arbors and The Ivy Assisted Living Communities. Ed started working for The Arbors Assisted Living in 2004. Since then, Ed has been a RCA, a Resident Care Director, the Director of our home care company (Integra Home Health) and is now our Regional Nurse for the entire company. Ed is about to embark on his 20th year with us.
We asked Ed why the nursing role is so important in Assisted Living?
“Nurses in assisted living are so important because they are responsible for the overall well-being of all residents, which includes their physical, mental, and social health. Nurses in assisted living are case managers, working to coordinate all care and services required to care for our residents. Nurses in assisted living are educators, responsible for educating residents, family, and staff on many different health topics, including transitioning to assisted living, disease processes, and end of life care. Nurses in assisted living are also caregivers providing hands-on care to our residents, and providing nursing support when someone is ill. Nurses in assisted living become an extension of the resident’s family, often sitting, and talking with residents, being there to listen to any problems the resident may have.”
How do you feel you make a difference in our residents’ lives?
“I have had the pleasure of working in assisted living for many years now, and my favorite most rewarding moments are when I can help a family and/or resident navigate a challenging situation. When the family and residents put their faith and trust in me to do right by them, it’s an amazing feeling to work alongside them towards a solution. I have sat with residents on hospice and held their hands as they have taken their last breath. To me there is no greater gift that a nurse can receive than having the opportunity to be at the bedside to comfort and ease someone’s passing at their most vulnerable time. I have sat and cried with families and shared memories of their loved ones after they have passed. I have sat in meetings with other care providers and advocated for our resident’s care and quality of life right alongside the family.”
How do you make a positive impact being a nurse in a community?
In assisted living we have the opportunity daily to impact our resident’s life in a positive way. We have the chance to build amazing relationships with our residents and families, you don’t often see that in other care settings. In hospitals it is about fixing a medical condition, and in nursing homes it is very care/task oriented, in assisted living we get the chance to take a more holistic approach and care for our resident’s mind, body and spirit.”
We are proud of our nursing team. They get things done, they work collaboratively with other doctors and healthcare clinicians, they keep open lines of communication with our residents and their families, they care about people and they are the glue that holds the team together!
We want to take this time to recognize and honor our exceptional nurses for the selfless and undefinable impact they make on all of us. They are the backbone and the front lines of our assisted living communities. They have shifted and redefined what being a nurse post pandemic looks like as “the new normal”. Our world in healthcare has shifted dramatically over the last few years and will continue to do so as the shortage of staff takes its toll on our industry.
How can you celebrate a nurse in your life?
- Write a thank you note, show your appreciation with a kind gesture.
- Give a gift card, or supply a sweet treat to say thank you!
- Offer a listening ear, check in to see how your nurse hero is doing.
- Cheers to Nurses, plan a small celebration!
- Take something off their plate, offer to help with something small to check off their to do list!
- Support their career growth as they evolve in the healthcare industry.
- Be an ally, connect with your local nurse and show your support!