Juanita C., BSN, MS, became a nurse in 1972. It was the only thing she ever wanted to do. From stints in trauma and neurosurgery, to more than 30 years at a children’s hospital, her career was full. She retired for the first time in 2012, but wasn’t quite ready to hang up her stethoscope. After working for the past several years with Independence Plus, Inc.’s pediatric patients, Juanita is finally settling in to retirement for the second time. We sat down with her to talk about her 45 years in nursing, what she has learned from working in home healthcare, and her plans for the future.
What made you want to be a nurse?
It must have been imprinted in my brain because I’ve always wanted to be a nurse, for as long as I can remember. I never thought of doing anything else!
After working so long in a hospital environment how did you end up in home healthcare?
I had done home healthcare in the past, but I didn’t really come back to it until I retired. When I first retired I was off for a number of months and that was great initially. After awhile you’re used to the activity and you’re not having the same amount of money coming in. My friend Bernice who is also a retired nurse found out about Independence Plus and we decided to tackle going back to work after retirement together. It’s another perspective of nursing. Working in home nursing also allowed me to choose my hours and keep my skills going. (Juanita and Bernice H., BSN, MS, scheduled their interviews at Independence Plus on the same day and the same time. To read more about their lifelong parallel nursing careers, click here!)
What did you enjoy most about your time as a home healthcare nurse?
The patients! Home care nurses play a multifaceted role in their patients’ lives and the families are all unique in their own way. Seeing how that played with the care of the patient, to see the love and support from their families first-hand was so interesting. You get a rapport with them and it’s wonderful. It’s a very deep relationship that you build and there’s a great trust there. My first priority is always the patient and they knew they could count on me.
What have you learned from your patients?
They’ve taught me over the years not to get too personal and not to forget that they are the patient. They may want someone to listen to them, but I realize I am the caretaker and I stay in my station. You will see things that are out of the realm and I’ve learned to be available but not opinionated because this is their own environment and you have to remember that you aren’t at home. They need some privacy.
On working for Independence Plus, Inc. (IPI):
With IPI I find myself comparing them to other companies and they are in a higher light. The teaching they do is really impressive.if there is something going on that needs assistance, you can communicate with your clinical manager and be able to resolve things quickly. You need that communication. I also like how IPI does Quality Assurance on their charting. All home care places don’t do it that closely. I really like that because it helps you to hone your skills and be more together with your notes. I also like the fact that if you’re uncomfortable with something you can come to the office and work on your skills or the information is available online as well. It makes for a comfortable working environment.
What are your plans for retirement?
I’m keeping active with other things. I go to the community center and do the treadmill and I have a lot of association with my church. I’m in a group there called Seniors on the Go. We just went on a wonderful trip to Washington, DC. I also belong to another group of folks from seven churches who are working together with the State of Illinois to help with rights for caregivers. I keep active because I don’t want to sit around and do nothing. I will definitely miss the patients though and I will miss IPI. Tell everyone there to continue to be the great company they are and to keep up the great work. I loved them!
Independence Plus, Inc. would like to thank Juanita (and Bernice!) for taking great care of our patients! It is our mission to provide exemplary care and services for people at home with complex medical and respiratory needs. Exceptional nurses make that possible!