Director of Nursing effects change with new skilled nursing unit
story and photo by James Coburn
As a long-term care facility, St. Ann’s Home recently opened up a new skilled unit where they are treating patients that are recovering from being in the hospital with strokes, hip surgeries and other maladies.
“We handle a number of clinical issues here,” said Carleesha Moore, RN director of nursing at St. Ann’s Home, located in Oklahoma City.
“The skilled facility is fairly new to St. Ann’s. And so I’ve changed how we staff it over there. I staff it on a first and second shift with two nurses, one LPN and one RN,” Moore said. “And I’ll split front and back so there’s less surface area for them to cover.”
There is at least eight hours of RN supervision for the skilled residents, she noted. Two restorative aides assist in the residents’ recovery while CNAs take vital signs, she said.
The nursing staff at St. Ann’s Home views their work as a ministry, Moore said. They bring qualities of compassion and a loving, caring spirit which is intrinsic to their character to make life at St. Ann’s a comfortable home.
“They’ve shown a lot of dedication,” said Moore, who has been a nurse for 13 years.
She earned her nursing degree at Platt College. Afterwards she began some long-term acute care in hospitals, but her history is primarily in long-term care.
“I view nursing as a ministry,” Moore continued. “And long-term care is my calling because it’s taking care of people. They’ve been mothers and fathers. They’ve had full careers and now they’re in the sunset of their lives.”
Now they simply need someone to look after them with a caring spirit to advocate for them, Moore said. Moore wants to ensure that they have an easy transition toward the end of their lives, she said.
“They do so with dignity and respect,” Moore said.
So Moore always asks nurses interested in a career at St. Ann’s home why they became a nurse or CNA. Nurses will succeed at St. Ann’s if they also see the important work they do as a ministry and not a pay check. She would rather have someone who says they want to care for people than saying it’s just a job.
“So I look for those qualities,” she said. “I can teach skills; I can teach you how to transfer and teach you wound care, but I can’t teach you to be caring and compassionate,” Moore said. “That’s just something you have to be born with.”
There is so much to love about the residents, Moore said. Endearing qualities touch her heart. Many of the residents have special talents, she said. They care for one another and advocate for each other’s needs.
“I just love the relationship when I see the residents interact with the staff,” Moore said.
When new residents come to live at St. Ann’s, they will have a period of orientation by the staff explaining the different departments. A large activities department has activities in the dining room. They are encouraged to participate in the activities and group exercises.
“We have the resident council committee who goes around and introduces the new residents,” she said with a smile. “So it’s a real community environment here.”
Something appeals to just about every interest of the 106 residents within the 120 bed facility. Live music is available and a Hawaiian Luau is scheduled for this month. There is a happy hour, bingo, and movies shown on a big screen in the dining room, Moore added.
“They have popcorn and ice cream socials,” Moore said. “There’s always something going on here. We have five people in the activities department here.”
Moore enjoys being active in life as well by bike riding with her husband on the weekends. She will go to the movies or spend time with her son, although she said he is a teenager now who prefers his dad’s company now.
Moore is motivated to return to a normal week day by knowing she can make a difference. This impact can be on a resident’s life or that of an employee. Moore is there.
“Sometimes you effect change and make a difference with family members,” she said. “I’m constantly thinking of ways to make it better.”
The nurses enjoy getting to know the personalities of each of the residents. Moore said she tries to staff in a way expressing continuity so the staff and residents may build relationships.
“They just see them as family,” Moore explained. “It’s really a family oriented environment and that’s what we want to continue to provide here at St. Ann’s.”