“Amanda continuously shows staff what it means to feel supported. Whether it be staying late to help nurses finish their work, coming in to work at all hours to cover an emergency, taking them through their first resident loss, or managing clinically complex residents and upset family members, Amanda is the person you want at your side when times become challenging.”
Times couldn’t be more challenging for nurses, so we knew we had a Spotlight Nurse of the Month for June in Amanda Williams, RN. Amanda has risen through the ranks at Lafayette Nursing and Rehabilitation, a 60-bed facility in Mayo, Florida, beginning as a CNA nine years ago. She worked while studying for her LPN, then her RN, and became a charge nurse. Today, Amanda is Director of Nursing at Lafayette, and enthusiastically sings the praises of her workplace.
“The residents really come first in this facility. We’re well known in the community and surrounding area for providing some of the best care around. Our standards for our employees are also higher than most, which ends up being what’s best for the residents, too.”
Long-Term Care Wasn’t on Her Radar
Amanda always wanted to help people by doing something in healthcare, but she never really thought of a career in long-term care.
“When you’re in nursing school, you often have different plans than what ends up happening. Once I started as a CNA in long-term care, I just fell in love with it. I realized then that geriatrics is where my heart is.”
While she loves working at Lafayette, Amanda’s had to adjust to assuming a leadership role.
“It was hard to go from being a peer to being a supervisor of my former co-workers. Learning how to be a good manager is difficult, but if your heart’s in it, you’ll succeed.”
The Impact of Her Residents
Amanda truly enjoys the residents in her care, and says interacting with them makes her job meaningful.
“I love taking time out of my day to chat with residents – some have dementia. Many don’t have family members who visit them, so they like it when you spend time interacting with them. The most rewarding part of my job is when I’m able to be that person for them; it may even make their day listening or talking to them. These people have made such a difference in my life! When we can talk with them like they’re a parent or grandparent, it’s therapy for them and for us. Older generations perceive things much differently than ours does, so we get a lot of advice from them while caring for them too.”
Tech is a Dream Come True
Looking back just a few years, Amanda never could have imagined how much technology would fundamentally change the way she and her staff provide care.
“When I first started as a nurse, we were all paper charting. Now that we have electronic charting, our jobs are incredibly easier. I don’t have to go grab every single chart to look at the nurses’ notes. I can just pull a report and the notes are right there. If I want to look at medication, all that information is at my fingertips. Immediate access has made a huge difference.”
Don’t Judge What You Don’t Know
Amanda gets fired up when those outside long-term care don’t appreciate what her nurses are doing, and she has become a full-time cheerleader for her team.
“So many think that those who work in LTC aren’t smart enough to work in a hospital, that we’re less of a nurse, or don’t care as much as other nurses. I always reinforce to our nurses that they’re just as good as their peers outside LTC – and they have a much bigger job than others in our profession. They’re responsible for 30 residents during a shift, where a hospital nurse might have six to eight patients. I wish more people could come to a well-run LTC facility like ours, to see what we actually do. We’re not just sitting around watching old people – there’s so much more that goes into our jobs!”
Compassion is the “Secret Sauce” of Nursing
Like our other Spotlight nurses, Amanda agrees that a nursing career is not for everyone, and that it takes a certain temperament to be a successful nurse.
“Nursing is all about compassion. You have to come in with the mindset that everything you do should be for those residents. Sometimes they’re difficult, but you never know what someone is going through or why they’re being difficult. To be able to be compassionate, to show them empathy, is an important quality for a nurse to have. It’s not about how many patients you care for, but who you are as a person, and how you treat others.”
Hard Work and Humility are in Her DNA
While working full-time, and raising four young children, Amanda has gone back to school to earn her bachelor’s degree. Admitting that she doesn’t like to be the center of attention, she was a little nervous when she first learned she’d been chosen as one of our Spotlight Nurses. But Amanda’s grateful for the recognition, and eager to build on her LTC career.
“In ten years, I definitely still see myself in long-term care, ideally at this facility. I tried home health for a couple of years, but realized that my heart is here and in LTC. This award makes me feel so appreciated, which doesn’t always happen to nurses. The fact that someone nominated me for this makes me feel that what I do here is working, that I am making a difference.”
Amanda’s nominator summed her up just right, “Simply put, Amanda is an extraordinary nurse.” We’re excited to share her story with you as our June Spotlight Nurse, knowing she’ll continue to meet all the challenges that come her way!