Staff Stories - May 12, 2021
by Kathie Miller
“How very little can be done under the spirit of fear.”
For many of us, this quote from Florence Nightingale might take on new meaning after what we’ve all endured the past many months. Throughout the pandemic, the world bore witness to nurses and other front line workers and caregivers who overcame fears to do so very much. At Goodwin House, our staff demonstrated courage, dedication and commitment—they overcame fears every day.
Recently, we had an opportunity to recognize one particular group of our staff who were integral to our making it through the pandemic – our nursing staff, who represent nearly 40% of our workforce.
Goodwin House employs more than 350 staff who serve as caregivers in nursing roles that range from CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants) to nurse practitioners. Some work at our Life Plan Communities – Goodwin House Alexandria and Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads. Others work for our health care services such as hospice and home health. All of them share a passion for their work, and compassion for those under their care.
Sara Alston is a registered nurse who works in the Goodwin House Alexandria health care center. She recently shared a story about being with someone in their final moments. “That moment was not about my special skills like knowing how to insert an IV or a catheter,” Sara commented. “It was about me being able to sit at his bedside, holding his hand and telling him ‘You’re not alone. I’m here. It’s okay.’ And it was that moment that made me realize that this is nursing.”
Many of us who do not serve in nursing roles might find ourselves wondering how nurses do it. As someone who gets asked this question often, Director of Clinical Services for Palliative Care and Hospice, Justine Campbell describes it this way: “Nursing is not a place I go to work. I don’t sit at a desk to do something separate and then come home and be someone else. Nursing is an extension of who I am.”
Every year, Nurses Week is held from May 6 to 12. May 12 is an important date as it is the birthday of Florence Nightingale, who is considered to be the “founder of modern nursing” due to her activist’s approach to changing not only the role of nurses, but how they were viewed.
Nightingale herself lived at a time when nurses were not highly regarded. Today, nurses rank as the most trusted profession, according to the annual “Honesty and Ethics” Gallup poll. In 2020, they marked their 19th consecutive year in the top spot. What’s more, they have earned that top spot in all but one year since the profession was added to this poll in 1999 (Gallup introduced the poll in 1976).
In celebration of Nurses Week this year, the Goodwin House Foundation hosted a webinar that featured Sara, Justine and four other nursing colleagues who shared personal stories of how they were called to this honorable vocation, how they managed through the pandemic and how grateful they are to do this type of work with Goodwin House.
Watch the hour-long program below to learn more about our nurses and how we celebrate them. We also invite you to consider making a donation to the Goodwin House Foundation to honor our nursing staff. The Foundation makes it possible for our staff to grow and thrive in their careers by supporting programs such as tuition assistance and citizenship application fee grants.
As Corporate Director of Marketing & Communications, Kathie Miller provides strategic guidance and tactical support for all areas of Goodwin House. She writes, edits and manages The Good Life blog and newsletter. Kathie joined GHI in 2014 after nearly 15 years at NPR, where she honed her skills in brand and reputation management, content marketing and internal communications. Originally from Pennsylvania, Kathie has slowly come to realize she’s lived in Arlington for more than half her life and should call herself a Virginian. She enjoys the outdoors and brings her rescue dog, Remi, to work every day.