When You Never Stop Growing, Nursing Never Gets Old
Perspectives from Cassandra Freeman, LPN and Chuck Costello, LPN
For nearly four decades, Cassandra Freeman, LPN has been loving what she does as a BAYADA Nurse. For Chuck Costello, LPN, it’s been almost 25 years. That’s a long time for anyone to be in the same job— especially these days, when a long, interesting, fulfilling career can seem hard to come by. But that’s exactly what these LPNs have found in the specialty of adult home nursing.
Because demands for home-based health care are rising and are projected to keep growing, an excellent, skilled LPN (licensed practical nurse) is a hot commodity in the home health field, because they have the ability to get trained and certified to meet most clients’ needs.
Both Cassandra and Chuck say they’re glad they chose to follow that lifelong career path to become highly skilled LPNs. Over the years they’ve trained and become certified in many different diagnoses and complex care needs, and they’re always learning about the latest technologies and medical advances.
“I worked in two different hospitals before I came to BAYADA, and at first, I switched to home health care because I needed more hours,” Chuck says. “But once I got here, I knew this was the place for me. I didn’t get to see and do this kind of nursing before. Now I know so much more as a nurse, it’s incredible. I love the challenge and variety of adult home nursing.”
Cassandra agrees, “That’s a big thing I love about my job. We’re always keeping our skills current and learning the latest, whether it’s trach and vent (tracheostomy and ventilator) care, CPR, g-tubes (gastronomy tubes), ileostomy and stoma care, catheters, bowel routines, wound care, respiratory therapies... you name it. Health care is changing all the time, and it never gets boring. BAYADA keeps us on our toes with continuing education and training, in-services, annual skills assessments, and certifications. And our clinical managers are always available 24/7 if we have questions.”
“Caring for someone in their home, you’re there to see the healing process.
I dress a wound and I get to watch it close—that’s satisfying.”
Cassandra also started out as an LPN in a hospital, but recalls that she felt burned out and wanted to be able to sit and talk with patients, and help them feel better.
“I realized I needed a change when my supervisor wrote me up for insubordination because I put a patient on a bedpan,” Cassandra says. “I was only supposed to be giving meds that day. But can you imagine? You see a patient in need, you hear them asking for help, and you’re not allowed to help them? That wasn’t nursing to me.”
Chuck agrees, “But when you’re working one-on-one with a client who has a serious diagnosis, you are everything to them, and it feels great to be able to help someone with whatever they need.”
One of Chuck’s regular clients is a man in his 30s who has muscular dystrophy. “He’s like a son to me,” he says. “Some of these clients and families are dealing with so much. To me, they’re heroes, and it’s a joy and privilege to be able to help them… to help them help themselves,” Chuck explains. “When you earn their respect, and they trust you, when you’re able to give them peace of mind and help them be as independent as they can be, and stay out of the hospital… It’s the best, most rewarding feeling I’ve ever had as a nurse.”
Cassandra agrees, “Caring for someone in their home, you’re there to see the healing process. I dress a wound and I get to watch it close—that’s satisfying.” She adds, “I can understand and anticipate our clients’ needs, and I go out in the world with them to be their advocate—I’m their hands and feet. Whatever comes up, my care team can handle it. I feel more responsible for their well-being, and I feel much more rewarded as a nurse.”
One of Cassandra’s regular clients is a man in his early 70s who has quadriplegia. She hit it off with him right away, and—amazingly—she’s been working with him now for 33 consecutive years. “I am truly blessed,” Cassandra says. “I have traveled places with this client I never would have gone. We just got back from his vacation to the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon. That’s the difference in home health care. I’ve had the career opportunity to build a whole toolbox of nursing skills, knowledge, and clinical support that I can take anywhere. I give our clients my undivided attention, keep them safe, and make them comfortable so they can enjoy life. It’s everything I believe nursing should be. I love what I do!”