“Being a nurse is a blessing. I get to love on kids all day! I know I was meant to do this.”
Maya, 35, grew up in a small town in central Pennsylvania, moving there with her family at the age of six from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, to escape religious persecution. “My grandfather was in a Russian jail for ten years for his religious beliefs,” she shares. “It’s amazing the freedoms we take for granted in this country.”
Maya’s been working in home health care for fifteen years, first as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) right out of high school, and now as a nurse for more than eight years.
Most of us spend early adulthood figuring ourselves out and what we want to do with our lives. But Maya has always known she’s wanted to be a nurse since high school. Not just a nurse, but specifically a pediatric LPN. And it didn’t take long for her to realize that being a BAYADA Pediatrics Nurse is her true purpose and path.
We asked Maya what led her to such a clear calling.
What inspired you to be a nurse at such a young age?
When I was in high school, I had a friend whose siblings had special needs. They had BAYADA Home Health Care services in their home, and when I was over, I’d watch the nurses and felt very impressed by them. I knew I wanted to work there. In fact, I wrote a paper my senior year about wanting to be an LPN!
That passion was always there. As soon as I started babysitting, I fell in love with helping and caring for kids. I knew it was my passion and my calling—that I am here for a purpose.
Can you tell us how your career started, and where it’s headed?
Sure. I went to a technical high school where we had a choice of different occupational programs we could do, so when I graduated, I graduated with a CNA. I started working as a BAYADA Home Health Aide in Pennsylvania that fall.
My manager knew that I wanted to become an LPN, so she recommended I apply for the company’s Presidential Scholarship. I applied and got the scholarship, which was such a blessing! I used it to pay for my books and equipment for nursing school. I was so grateful for the assistance.
I worked as a nurse for the same BAYADA Pediatrics office for more than four years, and when I moved to North Carolina last fall, I joined the local BAYADA Pediatrics office here. I miss my kiddos back in Pennsylvania, but I’m happy to be caring for my new clients.
How has the COVID-19 public health emergency affected how you care for your clients?
I believe everyone needs and deserves love and compassion, especially at a time like this. People are scared, and when we visit them to provide care, they look at us to gauge how to feel. We have a responsibility to stay positive and at peace—take care of ourselves and provide the best care we can with love and kindness—because our clients and their families feel that. If we let fear take over, that would just lead to more stress and sickness. As their nurse we can set a positive, calm example.
How has your job changed at a time like this?
Well, it’s in flux—this is something new we’ve never dealt with before. I’m still full-time, but our caseloads have been changing around a bit. I feel like we’re able to protect ourselves and our clients and families compared to some other doctors and nurses on the front lines. We have our PPEs (personal protective equipment) and gloves, and we’re only in one home at a time, so we’re able to take all the right precautions.
I’m still with my one regular client, a baby girl, who receives tracheostomy care and physical therapy. The physical therapists aren’t coming into homes right now, but later today we have a Zoom session with her PT. I always join them so I can help her do her therapy exercises and keep working on her developmental milestones, because you can’t just stop with something so important. I like working together as a team with the PTs to help kids reach their full potential.
And how are you growing in your nursing career, over time?
Well, training and professionalism are at such a higher level at BAYADA than anywhere else I’ve been. I’m always learning new things through in-services and continuing education, and annual skills assessments. They expect so much more from you, and I like that.
I’m very happy being an LPN here—our clinical managers are amazing. They never make me feel “less than” an RN, and they are so supportive. Last year I took a special certification program to provide tracheostomy care, which gives me even more opportunities to work. The nurse educator had me study, then show my skills in the office, then we did a required number of hours together doing onsite training in the home. BAYADA is very meticulous. I may go for vent (certification to provide ventilator care) next.
And how would you say nursing is a reflection of who you are as an individual?
I don’t even see a separation. When you love what you do, you don’t feel like you’re working! I think sometimes, I can’t believe I get paid for this! Our high expectations translate into so many other things in my life: how I dress, how I treat others. I want to represent the highest standard of caring and compassion in everything I do.
When I talk to people about nursing, I’m very passionate about it. Love, kindness, and empathy are what it’s all about for me, and so is life. I’m fun, loving, and fun-loving! Church is an essential part of my life, so is spending time with friends, getting exercise, being in nature… and cleaning—I’m meticulous about cleaning my house!
Some people are afraid to let themselves be vulnerable, but I think that’s so important. That’s what I love about kids: they get your heart. I love running into other people who work at BAYADA. I feel united with them as a family. I know I was meant to do this.