CAREERS IN NURSING
NEW BEGINNINGS: NURSES TO GO CONNECTS WITH PATIENTS
by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
Jenny Savold, RN, says she feels like she is where she is meant to be with Nurses to Go Home Health, a new company that opened its doors in November.
“I’ve always had a fierce protection for the elderly,” Savold said.
During her clinical work in nursing school she noticed how some of the elderly in Louisiana were treated by their own families.
“Drop them off, shut the door, and never come and visit them again,” she recalled. “Some of them that can’t talk for themselves, I think I’m their advocate. I just feel protection for the elderly.”
Savold was already an LPN when she graduated from nursing school in Baton Rouge, La. She worked in nursing homes there and decided to further her education. So she engaged in a correspondence school, Excelsior College online. She completed the requirements and took the RN state board test in Louisiana and earned her degree.
Her first job was working in a nursing home where she fell in love with geriatric care. She had developed a calling to serve the geriatric population while doing her clinicals.
“So my first job was director of nursing, actually at a mental health clinic, mainly geriatric patients in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was called a PHP, which is a partial hospitalization program,” she said. “That is patients that have a diagnosis like bi polar and schizophrenia.”
Part of their therapy of drug detoxification was to partake in the drug therapy program to learn about different medical diagnosis, and how to deal with what they are living with, she said. Once a week a psychiatrist would come talk to them.
“That was the best part, I thought. It was very interesting,” Savold said.
She moved to Oklahoma due to a relationship and has loved the state ever since. She had never ventured into home health and worked at another company in Edmond.
Today, Savold said if she can help the elderly in any way then she is fulfilled in her profession.
“Whether it be teaching; whether it just be talking and laughing with them — because sometimes we are the only ones they see all day being homebound,” she said.
Her clients, no matter their diagnosis or life experiences, take the initiative to do whatever they can to improve their health and see the positive in their lives, she continued.
“A lot of them don’t have very much, and you can definitely tell where the poverty is here,” she explained.
Nurses 2 Go is based near Classen and the Northwest Highway in Oklahoma City not far from Penn Square. She said the farther south she goes in Oklahoma City there is more need for care.
“So I feel like my patients in the south — they need extra TLC,” she said. “And one of the good things about home health is you learn so many resources that can help them. For example, Meals on Wheels, churches that help with home restoration, just different resources that they had no idea was available to them.”
There are no PHPs in Oklahoma, she said, and Savold said a partial hospitalization program for the elderly would serve the state well for the mental healing of the elderly.
Savold is a music lover and marathon runner. When she worked in the mental health program in Louisiana, there were people living with schizophrenia sitting in a corner, not paying attention and not interested. She would walk in and ask them about the type of music they like. Savold would burn the music on a CD.
“Those people that never participated – they lit up,” she said. “So I’m really big on music therapy. It brings them back to a point in their life that was happier for them, so they’re not so focused with what’s going on with them now. To see them light up, to see them participate – it’s like they come alive.”
Music helps clients to bond with nurses because the nurse has brought out a side of the patients’ lives they have not been connected to in years.
Savold’s connection with mind, body and spirit as a runner is setting an example with home health patients. She recently ran the Oklahoma City Marathon.
“I feel like I take such good care of myself. I strive to do that,” she said. “I feel that attitude pours over when I see my patients.”
Eating junk food messes with your attitude by making you tired, she said.
“Even my 95-year-old patients have iPhones. And they have an app, and recently they followed me on the marathon running on their app,” she said. “So I feel with me taking care of myself, and them looking at me, they’re not looking at someone who does not practice what they preach.”