National Nurses Week, May 6-12, provides an ideal opportunity to celebrate all those healthcare professionals who choose one of the world’s oldest professions – nursing. Nurses make a difference in so many areas of healthcare, from hospitals to skilled nursing homes to community/home care nursing. Today, they are some of our healthcare heroes working on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

So what does a day in the life of a Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES) nurse look like? What do MVES’ nurses love most about their jobs?  A common response from the nursing team was their steadfast commitment to keeping MVES consumers and families at the heart of their work in the community. They also stressed the value of working as part of a dynamic team, as well as their dedication to serving the entire client versus just one dimension of the individuals served.

According to MVES Nurse Manager Roza Budilovsky, RN, “We get the privilege of getting to know the ‘whole’ patient and not just the clinical side of each case. Nurses get invited into someone’s home and family with the intention of providing the most comprehensive care in all aspects of his or her life.”

Roza stresses that her MVES nursing colleagues are among the most caring people she has ever worked alongside in her extensive career. “I feel so lucky to be part of an incredible group of registered nurses at MVES. My fellow nurses are extremely compassionate and dedicated. We are also so lucky to have a strong management team behind us, who support us in all of our endeavors.”

A nurse who has been with MVES for an impressive 23 years, Mary Ann Picariello, RN, the climate has changed for elder services nurses throughout her tenure with the agency. “Today there are more consumers with chronic medical and mental health concerns,” she points out. “We are always rising to meet their needs. Depression and isolation are a large part of this population’s challenges, especially during the pandemic we are currently facing. Because of coronavirus, a phone call from a MVES nurse or case manager may be the only communication an elder has had all week.”

Registered nurse Andrea Cole, RN, shows that no two days as a MVES nurse are exactly the same, especially during the pandemic that has changed the way MVES manages its operations. She talks about conducting phone assessments with consumers; documenting consumers’ information in MVES’ clinical database; working with physicians, visiting nurse associations, case managers and other providers to ensure the continuity of services across the board; and educating families and caregivers on ways to assist the consumer effectively. 

Andrea stresses that MVES services can be a key component to helping elders age in place in their own homes and avoid hospitalizations or facility placements. “The consumers who receive our services can remain in their home. It’s also nice to know that they have extra support in case of a fall, other injury or while recuperating from a hospital stay. Many of my consumers live alone and have limited supports, so they benefit tremendously from having another set of eyes and ears when they need them.”

Janet Maestranzi, RN, shares about the impact of the pandemic on her role, “My workday has remained consistent throughout the pandemic with the exception of one activity – seeing consumers in their own environments and directly observing their physical status, emotional and mental health concerns and environmental safety concerns. I miss seeing my clients’ facial expressions and body language.”

However Janet points out that telehealth contact is very assuring to consumers during the uncertain times the world is facing. “Clients are usually very happy to hear from us, and we can offer some reassurance and kindness in this unsettling time,” stresses Janet. “I am humbled by the way nurses are trusted, and working consistently with some of the most vulnerable members of society has only increased my sense of responsibility to guard that trust carefully.”

One message that is abundantly clear – MVES has succeeded in retaining a team of devoted, compassionate nurses who are fully committed to the older adults being served by the agency. During National Nurses Week and always, MVES thanks these professionals for their many contributions!

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