CAREERS IN NURSING
ALWAYS WITH A SMILE: LPN LOVES WORK AND FAMILY
by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
Phoebe Carson knows where her home is as a nurse. The licensed practical nurse has worked at Golden Age Nursing Center on and off for eight years.
“I tried to leave but I keep coming back,” Carson said. “I love it here. At this point now, I won’t be anywhere else.”
Her smile shows why she stays. Carson loves the residents she knows as part of an extended family. She loves the staff and enjoys working with her coworkers.
“They’re just like my second family,” she said. “And the management, our DON and our administrator, they’re really good with us. They have a caring attitude toward us, and you can tell they genuinely care about their staff. And you don’t see that too often in work places.”
Carson graduated from Platt College in Moore and has been a nurse for nine years. She was a CNA for 10 years before she went to nursing school and has always worked in nursing homes.
“Working as a CNA I got a chance to work with a lot of great nurses,” Carson said. “And those nurses actually inspired me to want to become a nurse.”
She admired their attention to patient care blended with a caring attitude, she said. The way they handled themselves professionally made Carson excited to become a nurse. One of the nurses she worked with at Baptist Village was Patricia Norton, RN. She saw in Norton many of the qualities she would adopt as a nurse.
“For one, you have to have patience,” Carson said. “And you have to have that caring attitude. I know if you don’t have those two things, patience and a caring attitude about people — it’s not going to work. You’re not going to make it.”
She said her work is more than a paycheck because you develop a family with the residents. You develop a bond.
“It’s so close, it’s unbelievable to me. When you have a death I cry just like the family does. You’re so close with them,” she said.
Carson said the residents have a will to keep living to do what they can do to their fullest ability every day. The old stereotype is that nursing home are the last stop before death, she continued.
“That’s not necessarily true,” Carson added. “They have an active life here. They live their life here. And so that inspires me to make me want to do more for them to keep them active living day to day.
Carson joins everybody together for the common good as a team. She cannot do her job without the certified nurse aides, she said. Carson said they are wonderful to work with as the eyes and ears of the facility. Too often CNAs are overlooked in the nursing industry.
“But me being a CNA at one time, I know what it feels like on that end,” she said. “They go above and beyond every day.”
Carson said she has seen the CNAs at Christmas going from room to room, placing outfits and making sure they match so that the women are pretty and the men are handsome.
“I’ve seen a couple of them. They’re staying with the resident as they are taking their last breath,” Carson explained.
Everyone has a place at Golden Age. Every facility becomes short of staff at times, Carson said. But nobody carries the burden at Golden Age.
“Everybody jumps in and we help each other,” she said. “It amazes me how strong they are. They don’t complain. They just do it. They get the job done. We all do because that’s what we’re here for.”
Carson leaves Golden Age during her time off knowing the residents are being cared for with loving hands, she said.
At home, she is also big on family time. Her son is 22 and away from home. But Carson has nieces and nephews who are younger who love their aunt.
“I spend a lot of time with them,” she said. “My nieces and nephews love me and I love them. So we do a lot of family things together.
They go to the lake or to a movie. Sometimes they stay the night. And when Carson returns to work, she is glad to see her other family.
“My vacation time was during last year. It was a week long. You know after those first couple of days I’m ready to go back to work,” she said. “I’m happy to see them always. They make me smile.”