This week, Nursing Notes Live visits with the 2013 Amazing Nurse Gloria Kindzeka, a pediatric home care nurse who was nominated by the mother of one of her patients. Here, Gloria talks about her passion for nursing and the special caring relationship she has with her patients. Here’s what she has to say.
MP3 Audio Podcast
Jamie Davis: Gloria, welcome to Nursing Notes Live. I always like to start off my interviews with asking the nurses that join us here to talk a little bit about how they became a nurse. Why you decided that nursing was a job for you?
Gloria Kindzeka: Okay. First off, Jamie, I just want to thank you for inviting me. My inspiration to become a nurse came from watching my sister do her job as a Pediatric Homecare Nurse. I felt very comfortable because I could relate what she was doing. Back in Cameroon, where I come from, it’s in the west coast of Africa, we do not have nursing homes, group homes. We basically take care of our relatives, friends and neighbors in the comfort of our homes. So those background encouraged me to become a nurse because I have the passion in caring, how to take care of the sick. When I watched my sister, I kept thinking to myself but I know I can do all that but I still need education to back it up with. So that’s how I get started: we babysit, started as a nursing assistant then later as a vocational nurse and later as an RN, as a registered nurse.
Jamie: When you started off as a nurse, did you start off in any particular area of nursing? What was your career path like to where you are today as a pediatric home care nurse?
Gloria: Yes. My first job was working in a detox center in Oklahoma City. We basically help detox people on different types of drugs. Then I also work in a nursing home. Most of the time, I work in an acute care and adult respiratory and Alzheimer’s care. Those were basically the two areas that I worked in. Sometimes, I think I work partly in a group home than before coming to do pediatric nursing, homecare nursing.
Jamie: What drew you to do pediatric homecare?
Gloria: Okay. Oh, my goodness. I love children. I love working with my children and their families. My mom, she was a preschool head mistress and I spent a lot of time in my teen years working with children. So that was a great feat for me. I just love working with the families too because it also helps me to provide the families with the – they too need to navigate the healthcare system. It was one of those things, when you do different things you come to a place where you have that, let’s say, fit, if I’m in an independent setting.
Jamie: I know exactly what you mean.
Gloria: Yes. It also gives out what you need to have a relationship. Over time, that trusting relationship is what is very important in my career as a nurse. It was just a perfect fit for me to do that. I love children. I say “love children.” I love working with them. I love the hugs. I love the kisses. I have one who calls me “Princess Yana.” I have somebody who calls me a princess. It’s just rewarding working with children.
Jamie: What are some of the things about your patient population that make it so necessary for them to have nursing care? Just give us an overview of what your patient population is like.
Gloria: We basically work with kids with congenital disorders. They come home with different – we have diverse, different kinds of problems. For example, most of them are on ventilators. They have chronic disorders that – spina bifida – they just need that day-to-day nursing. They cannot stay in the hospital forever. When they come home, they just need a nurse to be there to take care of – the rest of the nursing care that they deserve to have.
Jamie: Right. It’s interesting but with kids, with the pediatric population, I think it’s a great example of how well a team approach with patients, with caregivers and with nursing staff, how well a team approach can be brought together to help provide the total level of care for the patient because you rely on the families quite a bit. They’re doing most of their care at home.
Gloria: Yes. The team has to be really, it’s everybody together and we have to really work together to the interest of the child. When you have a child at home, you’re the advocate for that child. You’re the one who sees what’s going on. You’re the one who communicates to the doctors, to the social worker. In short, you do it all trying to make sure that everybody understands that because you are there day to day. That everybody understands this is what is going on. It is even because of the care that you give to this child that we come up with the various medical diagnoses that we have to individualize it to the care of the child.
Jamie: Nurses are really well-suited to that type of care: with our specialized nursing diagnosis, the ability to come up with nursing interventions. That really makes us a good fit for this type of care.
Gloria: Yes. It does because it gives – and eventually other people will work with the child and they give them back. Our first year for most of our kids is always our most difficult here because nobody knows this child. We always go back-and-forth in the hospital trying to figure out what is wrong with the child. Before they get sick, what is the aura? What happened before it? When you do all that, it helps the other person who is walking with the child in the future to not try to figure it out by themselves but always have that baseline.
Jamie: Right. If you’re looking at somebody else, that maybe you’re talking to another nurse or a nursing student that’s interested in doing the type of work you do, what advice would you give them? What skills they need to work on developing to be good at home care and providing this type of long-term rehabilitative care?
Gloria: Well, like I said before, nursing is a vocation. There are so many questions you have to ask yourself: if you have that passion, if you have that compassion, if you have the patience. When you’re coming to a home care as much as about the patient, it’s also dealing with the families. So you have to be able to have that balance to work in home care. So I always tell the new nurses coming in, “It is you. I know you know your job. You have to plan to work above and beyond your duties.”
Jamie: Really reach above and try to find the solutions because you’re working independently and you need to be able to do that.
Gloria: Yes. And also when you work with children. It’s a thin line between life and death. So you always like you have to be ready for your emergency procedures. Always you have to know them. Be ready to use them at any time. By doing all this, the way you should, the care to this child, it helps build that trusting relationship also with the parents because a parent can go to work knowing that their child is in safe hands. They don’t have to worry. They don’t have to call home. You want to get there. You try to do it in such a way that you get to that point. Even with the child, you have that relationship, the trust.
Jamie: Absolutely. That type of patient care relationship is so important. What is it about nursing, this type of nursing that you find so rewarding?
Gloria: Like I told you, it’s just knowing that you can make a difference in someone’s life. Just knowing that the nursing care you give to this child really helps the child, the transition that you give to this child. You know how you watch your child who was told in the hospital that will never walk. Because of the little therapies that you did, change everything. They were able to eat. They were told they would never eat before. The change you see is very rewarding. I always thought before it’s the outcome, the outcome of what you do because you see a progress, you see a change in this child and then the smile.
Jamie: Definitely. There’s so many things on the horizon, as you said, that increasing patient population is going to continue to rise and we’re going to continue the need of more nurses to fill those gaps. Not just in the traditional hospital setting but especially, as you said, in the home care setting.
Gloria: Yes. Definitely it’s growing. From the time I can say from the past years working at – I’ll just give an example. Coming into a company I came into, we have three times the population when I started working with that company. That is to show you. Also, because of healthcare is so sophisticated right now, more kids who are born with congenital disorders are surviving because of all the equipment, they give them a chance to live and we have a lot of this children to come home, the elderly too. A lot of devices, a lot of interventions to help them prolong their life.
Jamie: Right. Absolutely. I think the technology is huge. Do you find that being comfortable with that technology is an important part of your job?
Gloria: I think initially like when you deal with the older population, initially it’s always – I think that is where you come in as a nurse. You come in and you educate the families and you try to transition them through that process. When they get it and they know that it’s hard for them, especially the people who have chronic illness. It’s like a child living with diabetes at home or having something that will be there for a long time, as if they know that this technology will help them – “If I take my breathing treatment every day, this is going to make me not have asthma crisis if I do this.” So eventually they get it because you educated them and you also showed them the proper use.
Jamie: Yes, that’s true. So what are your final thoughts for someone listening to this that’s thinking about becoming a home care nurse? What would you offer to them as a piece of advice?
Gloria: It’s a very good area to be in. It’s an area that is an independent setting. Before you come into it, just don’t look at that patient that you’re dealing with. You’re dealing with the whole thing. You’re dealing with the families. It has its challenges but then you have to be able to differentiate that from what you’re doing for the patient. Your goal first is to take care of that patient and also build that relationship and the communication with the families. And also teaching them because it also helps when the family knows how to take care of the patient. Not too many questions are asked especially when they know that whatever you taught them is helping those patients improve their health. I love it. I love working in home care. It’s flexible. It helps you to show all what you’ve learned about it. It’s diverse.
Jamie: Definitely. No, I think that’s one of the things that makes it so attractive to so many people is that it’s a different patient every time. You go into a different setting. You have a new patient experience. And a new opportunity to share your nursing skills.
Gloria: Yes. Exactly.
Jamie: Well, Gloria, thank you very much for taking some time out of your busy schedule to share your experience as a nurse with us here at Nursing Notes Live.
Gloria: Okay. Thank you, Jamie. I just want to say one more thing. I just want to thank everybody who was out there who helped me to become this 2013 Amazing Nurse. I really feel honored for this recognition. I’m really happy and I hope this inspires some immigrant nurses out there or nurses in general out there to keep doing what they are doing.
Make sure you check out the entire September, 2013 issue of Nursing Notes, where we look at rehabilitation nursing and it’s impact on patient care. You can read the entire issue online at www.discovernursing.com and don’t miss the other Nursing Notes Live episode this month bringing you a panel discussion on rehabilitation nursing with Kristen L. Mauk, Professor of Nursing and Kreft Endowed Chair at Valparaiso University, and Michelle Camicia, President of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. You’ll find this and other episodes of Nursing Notes Live in the podcast area on iTunes.