When Amorly Gray divides her life in a before and after kind of way, it is the years before her mother had a stroke, and the fifteen years that followed. In fact, Amorly never had it on her mind to be a nurse, though frankly we cannot imagine one with her caring nature doing anything but.
In the years before the stroke, Amorly worked as a successful microbiologist in a lab. She always had a pull to the medical line and found meaning in testing substances for infection. “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” Amorly says. When her mom’s health saga started with a massive, overbearing stroke turning a healthy, active woman to being completely paralyzed and vent dependent, Amorly spent long hours in the hospital at her bedside. It looked like her life was in question. While the doctors explained the dire situation, it was the nurses on the floor who encouraged Amorly that everything will be alright. As an only daughter and child, the burden was a hard one to carry. The empathy of the nurses meant the world to her. Even as things took a turn for the better and her mom was transferred into a long-term care facility, Amorly could not forget those nurses who have made the nightmare bearable.
Life was still too busy to implement any changes and apply them. Amorly saw her mom deteriorating every day in the long-term care facility. Obviously, she was not provided best in her condition, where she was catching infection often and was suffering from a further cognitive decline. In an extraordinary coincidence, Amorly was introduced to the possibility of receiving nursing services in the home. She was told it is the best way to preserve the dignity of the patient, enhancing the quality of life. Amorly was on it. She would not sit still before her mom was approved for twenty-four hours of Private Duty Nursing. Setting up an ICU at home is difficult but seeing the difference how my mom was being cared for by the dedicated homecare nurses made it all worth it.
Seeing those nurses in action, the niggling feeling calling Amorly to nursing would not leave her alone any longer. Amorly enrolled for her Associated Nursing Degree with a goal to become a Licensed Practical Nurse for homecare patients, like those caring for her mom every day.
When Amorly joined our team back in May of 2015, we could immediately see the burning passion in a woman who saw the change and wanted to pass on the same. After several years of providing for her patients, Amorly wanted more, going for her RN to enable her to deliver a fuller scope of nursing.
Amorly Speaks How the Nursing Shortage Affected Mom’s Care
Seeing what the nurses are doing for my mom all the years has changed my life, my outlook, my career and my goals. As a daughter of a completely dependent homecare patient, I wait for the nurses to arrive like anything. The breath of relief when that car pulls into the driveway, and you hear that knock on the door is unexplainable. I appreciate the timeliness, the dedication, the warmth, and the caring from every member on my mom’s nursing team.
When working for my patients, I recognize the importance of arriving timely to every shift, and I ensure to give the appropriate advance notice for any days off. I know what it means for the family to have unexpected absences throw everything off kilter.
Since COVID, the ongoing nursing shortage caused by many nurses retiring or going after hospital positions even more so challenged the life for the patients and family members receiving homecare nursing. Some days, when shifts cannot be filled, I am my mothers nurse on call doing the full scope care. I am thankful that I have the knowhow how too, yet still it is taking a toll.
Knowing what the presence of a nurse means for the family, I often tell my White Glove staffing coordinator to let me know if any shifts are left uncovered and I try to help much as I can in the times when I do not need to back up my mother’s care. Many weekends, if I end up being free, I will end up attending shifts with patients in need for a nurse. I can relate to the challenge of lacking a nurse on a weekend, or for that matter any day. I don’t want anyone to feel the same kind of pain. My mother’s health saga truly changed my life and I wish to forward my experience seeing both perspectives, both as the daughter of a Private Duty Nursing patient and as a nurse, so more homecare nurses know the importance of what they are doing.