National Nurses​ Week: Celebrating the value of our nurses

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We celebrate National Nurses Week (May 6-12, 2019) to recognize professionals across all nursing disciplines for the incredible life-affirming and often life-saving work they do every day. Coinciding with the birthday of Florence Nightengale, the founder of modern nursing, it’s a national celebration that highlights the incredible people who provide the highest level of quality nursing care.

This week Elderwood honors our own nursing associates who care for patients and residents across our entire health care continuum.

Why I’m a Nurse

From the first moments of life to the final stages of care we all have a memory of a nurse who has made an impact in our care and sometimes our life. These moments have shaped and inspired our nurses to become amazing caregivers for our patients and residents.

“My dad had a stroke at an early age,” said Kathleen Mendola, LPN supervisor at Elderwood Assisted Living at West Seneca. “Watching him get the care he needed made me feel that this is what I can do, but even better.”

“I started taking care of my grandparents and enjoyed the quality time that I spent with them and felt that this was my calling.” – Brittany Harkins, LPN team leader at Elderwood at Amherst

“I decided to become a nurse when I was a junior in high school,” said Theresa Sparacino, RN unit manager at Elderwood at Wheatfield, who was very sick in the hospital. “I decided that nursing could be a very rewarding career, if done properly. I wanted to help others in ways they couldn’t help themselves.”

“I wanted to do something that made me feel like I was making a difference,” said Puneet Brar, LPN at Elderwood at Williamsville. Her favorite part is interacting with people and learning from those that are around her.

 Journey into Nursing

There are many reasons why our nurses choose to enter the profession. Perhaps it was a childhood dream, an inspiration from their own health journey, or witnessing the care of a loved one. For others the decision may have come with the realization that they needed a career change.

Jeanne D’Arc Uwimana was an accountant in Uganda, Africa when her husband fell into a coma. During his recovery she took him to his doctor’s appointments and started thinking about entering the medical field. When she came to the United States she became a CNA at Elderwood at Williamsville, where she presently serves as an LPN team leader. “There was a resident that reminded me of my grandma and that gave me the strength to continue on to work as a nurse,” said D’Arc Uwimana.

At 27 years old, Amanda Kapus is the director of nursing at Elderwood at Williamsville. She has enjoyed the opportunities for growth at Elderwood, where her career has spanned as an RN supervisor, floor charge nurse, unit manager and assistant director of nursing. “I choose a career in nursing because I like caring and helping people, but I also like the medical and science part of it as well.” Initially Kapus thought about entering pediatrics, but during her third year of school she realized how much she loved geriatrics. “I fell completely in love and would now never dream of working in any other profession.”

Jarred Gullick, LPN clinical application specialist with Elderwood Administrative Services had previously served as a fast food manager. “I had searched for a career direction for a few years. This included going into school for petroleum engineering in Louisiana, relocating to Buffalo and working in retail and fast food. I was looking for a career change, and had a close family member with some disabilities, so I had some exposure to it. I decided to go to nursing school and have worked for over 20 years almost exclusively in long-term care.”

Desire’ Gannon, LPN at Elderwood at Wheatfield had previously served in the dietary field and as a CNA. “I choose to become a nurse to make a difference in the quality of life of the elderly,” said Gannon. “Nursing is a work of mind and most importantly heart.”

Working and caring for people has been a passion of Bonnie Sobol’s, who is the RN charge nurse at Elderwood at Williamsville. Her career in health care began in the summer of 1980. “I enjoy having the privilege of taking care of my patients,” said Sobol.

Do you feel called to make a difference?

Do you have a passion to care for others and feel called to make an impact in someone’s life? Learn more about nursing professions available at Elderwood by visiting our careers page at www.elderwoodcareers.com.