Nurses Week 2020: Antoinette E., RN (Daniel Drake Center)

In honor of National Nurses Week, we are spotlighting some of our compassionate nurses at UC Health who make a powerful impact on our patients each and every day. Today, we highlight Antoinette, a nurse at the Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care.

What inspired you to become a nurse?

Antoinette: My inspiration reaches back to my childhood. As a little girl, I would go to work in the nursing home with my mother and volunteer in their activities program. It was such a rewarding experience to form the bonds that I did with the residents. I felt like I was making a difference and adding to their quality of life.

During this time, there was a nurse that worked there named Kathy. She was the best nurse I had ever seen. She took time with the residents, often assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs) and laughing with the residents. I remember thinking, “I want to be a nurse like that one day!”

 Why did you choose to work at UC Health?

Antoinette: I’ve always viewed UC Health as the organization that the community looks to in their most dire need. They aspire to be leaders in research and to find cures/treatments for the most complex cases. I wanted to be part of that!

How has your team prepared to handle a disease outbreak like COVID-19?

Antoinette: It has been a difficult time as the world battles this virus. As a team and in partnership with all area organizations, we have constructed surge plans in terms of “making room” for additional volumes of patients, as well as ensuring that our staff is ready and in position to care for an influx of patients if needed. We have trained nurses in other departments, who would not normally provide bedside care, to be able to assist if needed. We have followed algorithms set in place by the leaders of the organization to preserve our personal protective equipment (PPE) and protect our patients.

Additional hand washing stations have been set up, entrances have been restricted, check-ins are done for employees entering the building. Visitor restrictions have been set to protect the patients and employees. With that being said, we are making every attempt to be family to our patients during this time. We make phone calls to concerned family members and encourage communications via phone and video calls. We realized that we truly are in this together!

What advice would you give to nurses who are graduating right now?

Antoinette: Get a good foundation. Learn your skills on a medical-surgical unit. That is where you find your time management, prioritization skills and organization. This is where you build confidence and broaden your view. This is where you can find your true passion!

Never forget why you became a nurse. Find things that fill you up and fuel you for another day. Hold on to your compassion! It is hard at times, but you can always be the light for someone who has been living in darkness. Take time to hold someone’s hand and to listen. Be the nurse that someone could aspire to be!

What has been your most inspiring experience working as a nurse at UC Health so far?

 Antoinette: All of the wonderful people that work so hard to make a difference. I absolutely love the diversity and inclusion of this organization. UC Health takes the time to grow their leaders and support their team. I am inspired by the open invitations of leaders to the frontline staff to listen and just talk when needed.

It inspires me to see all of the hard work and dedication that the team has during this stressful time. It is nice to see smiles and to hear laughter in the midst of the world hurting.

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