NOTES FROM NAPANOCH #24
Dorian Lennert-Shank, part 2
by Joe Bevilacqua
In my last column, Ellenville native Dorian Lennert-Shank explained how she went from working at her father's gas station to becoming a nurse. Dorian, who is 50, went into the medical profession late in life, after having several other careers and raising a family. In part two, we'll learn about her work as an LPN at Ellenville Regional Hospital's Swing Bed Unit and why she lives in Ellenville, in her own words:
I was born in the old hospital. Where the synagogue is now. I live on the top of that hill. I haven't gone far. I've had opportunities. I've traveled a lot. I love it here.
I want to be by my parents, especially now that my sister past away of breast cancer a little over a year ago. I brought here. I took care of her, with my friends.
This hospital helped me so much and they really were very good to me and my family. There are certain things that mean so much to me, just that feeling of nurturing from other people. The caring and knowing who you are. It's so comforting. It's security, and I like that.
I'm not a city girl like my brother. He's a professor at NYU. My other sister is a scientist for Merck Pharmaceuticals in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
I don't want to work in a big hospital. I like that I can give that person that little extra. I can listen and really hear what they are saying. They are not beeping the buzzer and nobody is answering. We answer the first buzzer. We have time to listen to you, 99% of the time. Maybe there is one percent that we are really busy. We have been really busy, a lot more patients but we are still able to give that person personal attention. Knowing that person within the community also helps a lot. Then, you know the family and the family feels secure that they are here and they know who is taking care of their family member. That's comforting, not only for the patient but for the patient's family. It's a big thing.
How long have you been a nurse at Ellenville Regional Hospital?
Almost three years. When I first came here I was a brand new nurse. It was scary when I first started. The place has changed. I see so many vast improvements. I feel like I am growing with it. When I was first here three years ago, Steve Kelly started after I started. I see such good growth and positive things happening. Positive talk. You hear people on the outside saying they've got great care in the ER... they've got great care on med search... swing... the lab was fast and that is what I hear a lot of, a lot more positive things. I see more positive things. So I just feel like I am part of a real good growing company. It's a great feeling to be a part of something that is started, coming out of the black hole. Just the change in appearance of things, it's great.
What do you do?
Well, most of the time I work in the swing unit, which is restorative care. If you are not sick enough to be in the hospital but not well enough to be home you come to me. Whether you have had a stroke, accident, knee replacement, hip replacement--things like that--that you need to get back to your daily living skills. A lot of people start out where, they can't move and eventually they get up and walk out of here. I do exercises with them and make sure they have all their medication and monitor all their vial signs. We bring them out to the day room for activities. We have an activity director, Debbie Julian. She is wonderful. Then we have my RN case manager that is Gail Sloat. We can't forget our wonderful nursing assistances. We all work together as a team, getting these people back on their feet and encouraging them because they need a lot of encouragement, TLC. Get them so they can go home, be with their families. Some times they are here for a week, sometimes for a few months, so we get to get a lot of interpersonal relationships with the families. It is a great unit.
The people I work with, I really enjoy that feeling. I like coming to work. I think we are going to see a lot of great things. We really are, there are a lot of positive vibes. Where else can you be in the hospital and look out at the mountains; that's healing in itself. We have got good food.
We have the swing music going here.
SWING MUSIC in the SWING UNIT!
We have all kinds. I try to get music that is age appropriate for the people down here. We play games, bingo, cards. We have arts and crafts time which we all get involved in. We have a no-oven baking day, ice-cream Sunday day, a lot of really interactive things. Parties! If it is a birthday, we have balloons. We work right with physical therapy. It is neat to see.
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