Caring for medically complex patients at home is extremely challenging—but we at Independence Plus love the opportunities to deliver complex clinical care while our patient is in their own home. We train RN’s and LPN’s to become specialists in directly caring for ventilator-dependent patients, many with rare diagnoses. It takes a special nurse to succeed as part of our team, and Tori, RN, is the perfect example. Now halfway through IPI’s year-long Home Nursing Residency Program*, Tori offers her thoughts on working in high acuity specialty home care, what she has learned from her patients, and her advice for new nurse residents.
Q: Why did you become a nurse?
A: When I started considering careers in high school I knew I wanted to do something that actively helped others, challenged me, and gave me the ability to change and grow. When I decided to pursue nursing I thought I was simply choosing a career that fit my checklist. I did not understand the true selflessness, strength, and intelligence it requires to be a nurse, and how deeply I identified with nursing until I started school at Loyola University Chicago. The more I learned, the more fully I realized how called I felt to serve others through nursing. Loyola helped me realize that nursing is my vocation, not just my job. IPI has been a wonderful first step in my realization of that journey.
Q: Why did you choose to work in Home Nursing?
A: I knew that if I chose to work in the hospital, a checklist of medications, assessments, orders, and procedures would limit the depth of my nurse-patient interactions. I chose Home Nursing because I wanted to be able to form meaningful relationships with my patients. I wanted to learn how they live in such sustainable and fulfilling ways, and how I, as their nurse, could help them do that. In home care, we are given the fantastic opportunity help our patients in mind, body, and spirit. I feel that I am able to give my patient’s the care they deserve and I am able to be the best nurse I can be.
Q: What has been your proudest moment so far as a nurse?
A: I am not sure if I can pin it to an exact moment with one patient. I think it is the moment you have in every home when you find your place. You finally master repositioning, you anticipate a need, or you make your patient laugh. There is this level of familiarity and trust that develops with each family and patient, and every time I have one of those moments I am deeply proud of my job and what I do.
Q: What is something about your job that would surprise us?
A: How creative you have to be! You are constantly thinking on your feet and having to problem solve. You have to be very resourceful with what you have been provided in each home and it makes you really look at problems differently and think outside the box. I think after spending so much time in the hospital in nursing school, I was surprised most by what we are capable of achieving in the home for our patients.
Q: What does working with your patients teach you?
A: The biggest thing I have taken away from working with my patients has been the amazing strength and perseverance that humans are capable of. The obstacles they have overcome and the joy they find in their lives and each other are humbling to witness. I am constantly ending my day filled with immense gratitude. My patients teach me grace, every day.
Q: You joined Independence Plus as a Nurse Resident. Do you have any advice for new Nurse Residents in the program?
A: Be patient with yourself. Building confidence takes time. Mastering your skills, getting acclimated to each home environment, and learning who you are as a nurse all take time. Have faith in yourself (and your manager, and your training!). You can do this!
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My friends and family constantly inspire me. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by wonderful, positive people who never stop trying to do better and be better. I would definitely not be where I am today without them.
Q: What are you planning to do next?
A: For now I am appreciating my year of residency and all that I am learning. As for the future, I would love to continue working in community health and try to see what more I can do with pediatric and family care. I believe that teaching and caring for patients outside the hospital is a very important (and under-appreciated) area of nursing!
Q: What words do you live by?
A: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Kindness and compassion are essential to every relationship, patient, co-worker, friend, anyone. I try to always hold that in my heart.
*If you are an RN or LPN who has recently graduated, click here to learn more about Independence Plus’ Home Nursing Residency Program, a hands-on training and education nursing program for new grads.
If you are an RN or LPN with a minimum of one year of nursing experience, click here to learn more about Independence Plus and the opportunities to join our team as a Home Nursing RN or LPN.