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Experience

My Personal and Professional Caregiving Experience

My Personal Experience

      I understand how a new caregiver feels. I’ve stood at that same door of uncertainty and felt the tidal wave of anxiety roll over me as I wondered what lay ahead. Over the past twenty years, I experienced first-hand caregiving during three major family life events.

  • As a mother caring for my child who had both physical and mental health care needs crippling her ability to function,
  • As a grown daughter supporting her father, who was caring for her mother dying of cancer and providing care to her during chemotherapy for a year, and
  •  As a wife caring for a husband diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (primary progressive), who changed from being able to master anything life threw at him to not scratch an itch on his arm.
My Professional Experience

      Through these experiences, I gained a vast amount of knowledge and insight about family caregiving. However, I was fortunate because I believe God had me prepare ahead of time through a series of challenges that equipped me with the skills I needed to survive.

      I graduated from nursing school in 1978 and worked in or around healthcare until 2018. I had a unique healthcare career. It allowed me to experience a multitude of specialties and gain expertise in areas often limited in opportunity. Looking back, it expanded my insights in remarkable ways. My discoveries fit perfectly into the toolbelt I eventually needed to acquire to successfully care for all the family members needing help in my future. Through my faith, I realized that God set me on a path to gain the necessary abilities throughout my life. He orchestrated the timing of acquired a new skill with future needs He knew were coming. God had a plan for my life and prepared me to fulfill it.  

 

Education

  • Bachelor of Science with Major in Nursing, Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical College of Virginia
  • Diploma in Nursing from Roanoke Memorial School of Nursing
  • A child with obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobia, joint, muscle, and blood pressure issues.
  • Spouse with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.
  • Father-in-law with end-stage cancer (assisted with coordination of care).
  • Mother with cancer.
  • Grandson with autism and undiagnosed possible mitochondria disorder, digestive disorders, and immune system issues
  • Granddaughter with cerebral palsy, possible brain stem degeneration, non-functioning small and most of her large intestine, and pending liver failure.
  • Grandson with autism with postural orthostatic hypotension with a central line to manage it.

Work Experience (Roles Held)

  • Staff Registered Nurse (Emergency Department, Medical Units, Intensive Care, Home Health, Psychiatric Department, Chemical Dependency, Surgery Unit).
  • Infection Control Nurse Manager
  • Employee Health Nurse Manager
  • Human Resources Management

Additional Training

  • Infection Control and Prevention
  • Substance Abuse and Prevention
  • Threat Assessment and Intervention
  • Domestic Violence
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Ostomy and Wound Care
  • Chemotherapy Administration
  • Cardiac Rehabilitation
  • Patient Education Principles and Training
  • Crisis Management
  • Counseling Techniques
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Emergency Medical Response
  • Employment Law