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My Story

Hi.  My name is Holly.  I’ve been an RN for over 23 years, working throughout MA & RI.  A born and bred Rhode Islander, I graduated from Rhode Island College in 1996 as a double-major, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing & Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. 

I started my career on the Coronary Care Unit of Rhode Island Hospital. Branching out in 2001 to Travel ICU Nursing and then into Emergency Nursing in Cambridge on staff in 2007, which is also the year I became a mother.  Deciding to “move back home” with my daughter in 2013 to be closer to family, I then became a Travel ED RN, working on contract in and around Boston during 2014-2015.

In 2016, I expanded my RN role to include a Weekend Nursing Supervisor position in RI and also working per diem for Nursing Agencies in 2017-2018.  Again expanding my RN role in 2019, completing a 40 hour WebEx Course curriculum and becoming a Certified Hospice Case Manager. The later part of the year, I took an Interim Director of Nursing position at a facility I worked in per diem, taking advantage of an opportunity to become more educated and experienced in Nursing Management roles.

From my first day on the CCU at Rhode Island Hospital in September of 1996, to my last role as Interim DON in July of 2019, I have always loved being a nurse.  My greatest strength and reward has always been in my ability to relate in a very real and significant way to clients with a full range of psychological and physical issues, as well as my clinical excellence from many years in critical care.  In every role, I would leave with Letters of Recommendation from my colleagues and References from management. Even as a Travel RN, I continued to receive cards and compliments from the patients and families I had the privilege of taking care of.  Over the years, I have become very grateful for the sense of self-worth I have always obtained through helping people. 

Motivated by a 7 year career as a CNA, I worked my way through college in the field.  As a former mentor and Critical Care Nurse Educator once said in a Seminar, “You can’t teach someone how to be a nurse. It’s a gift you’re born with.” So why my ever-changing roles? Why was I never completely job satisfied? What was missing?

I believe what was missing was A Better Way.  The fact is that our healthcare system in the US is a system governed by Insurance Companies and Politicians, both of which have very little knowledge or regard for the short and long term consequences of sub-standard care.  Meeting only the very basic needs for their patients… Let’s face it… They are not nurses, doctors or patients. They are profit driven, certainly not patient outcome driven. That seems to take little or no priority. 

The consequence?  Patients that are left with questions, in pain, alone… Or with family members who love and want to help them:  Instead feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and completely unprepared; and a care plan that might as well be written in a foreign language.  (And sometimes is!) To add fuel to the fire, a Provider and Care Team that is so overwhelmed and understaffed themselves (Been there!), they are unable to see that THIS ISN’T WORKING!!  Even worse? All the anxiety, pain and discomfort of unmanaged symptoms, all the stress that a failing Healthcare system triggers, has an extremely negative effect on the patient’s response to treatment & ultimately their prognosis.  My goal is to change all that! My goal is to create A Better Way.

In every Department, Facility, State/town I entered in to start a travel contract, I would meet the same patients and their families and unfortunately hear their “horror stories”.  You know the ones; you don’t have to be a nurse, or even in the medical field, to be subjected. The elderly man lying on an ER stretcher, in pain, while his appendix bursts. Or the psychiatric patient, adult and children alike, being “locked into” very untherapeutic Psychiatric Emergency wards for days, weeks; Waiting “to be cleared”;  or for “a bed”: Detoxing and completely unmedically managed. Those of you in the medical field, I think there is A Better Way than the CIWA scale. Every individual is unique, as is every withdrawal.  

Consequently, as a believer in the theory that if you don’t like your situation, work to change/improve it:  I decided to transition into Subacute and Long-term care facilities: And it only gets worse. A 55yr old cancer patient whose transport to his recommended and MD ordered MRI to evaluate the effectiveness of his chemo, as well as if he would need chemo continued;  Cancelled/delayed so many times he ended up receiving another chemo treatment prior to the MRI being done. And what was that valuable transport? A shared cab! Paid for by him as no other transport was covered: A great means of transport for a cancer patient undergoing chemo!?  Great way to avoid complications!? Not. 

Or a long-term care patient who had to wait 2 weeks to arrange a Walmart trip, as without any family and only one friend who is also elderly and limited, she has no resources.  While 100% of her social security checks go to the facility; She has nothing for the cab or Walmart. She worked all her life, owned her house, which was condemned as she could not keep it up when her husband died.  Now residing in a Nursing Home, she is mentally intact, and walks well, as she is only 65. Yet she doesn’t even have $50 or a ride to Walmart to get socks!! 

And unfortunately, that is not all:  Falls that get unnecessarily transported to the hospital, where poor little immunosuppressed Grannie ends up with a severe hospital acquired infection:  Yes… That ends her life. Why? Not because she was injured. Because the skeleton staff of the Nursing Home could not physically, and/or non-traumatically,  get 350lb Grannie up off the floor! Not to mention no one experienced enough to assess for injury/trauma. That is certainly not dying with dignity. And it’s no better at home… No offense against the “Lifealerts” of the world, but I believe there is A Better Way.

So I once again decide to change nursing environments, definitely making more of an hourly wage, and in more control of my schedule, I start working for a Temp Nursing Agency, covering Agency shift work in various facilities, often never been before.  Arriving 80 miles away in Plymouth for a double shift, I realize I am on a Pediatric Group Home Unit, taking care of paralyzed CP patients, non-verbal with feeding tubes, a 12yr old girl, bald, undergoing chemo…. I cried the entire way home, and then returned the following weekend, as I fell in love with the children.  But even though they were inspiring, finding joy and play in the simplest of gestures, I couldn’t help but wonder … Isn’t there A Better Way?  

Most had family, who would visit regularly, one patient even went to school Mon-Fri from the facility, but they required skilled nursing that was unavailable, or not economical, in the home.  So they are pulled from the only support system they know… Their family; As well as a germ familiar home environment, into a Group Home? In some of the cases, to live in a zipped-up playpen?

Okay maybe I just have to get out of shift work altogether.  At 48 years old, maybe I’m just burnt out? Maybe I need to go into a completely different area… Hospice!  A Bucket List job for me… Yeah, I’m sure that will be more rewarding: Well… Not so much. I mean it was great to hang up the scrubs and be in charge of my weekly schedule, but when Recertifications are due, sometimes on multiple clients, you are attached to a tablet for up to 60 hours, updating med orders, treatment orders, weights and vital signs… It was pretty never-ending.  And I was constantly lost in Providence, being a RI beach gal. And the reward that I was looking for? 

A 90yr old Italian man in Cranston, reminding me of my grandfather, that I lived with in college:  Failing, depressed, unable to get to McDonalds for coffee with his boys… I needed to start him on depression medication.  Another very elderly, very paranoid and needy gentleman, overdosing on Ativan after a mix of anxiety attacks and alcohol… Eventually falling in his bathroom.  Yet continuing to refuse placement… He ended up in the hospital with a concussion from his last fall at home. Not so rewarding. 

I believe there is A Better Way.  And doesn’t your family, wife, parent or child deserve the best life has to offer?  Doesn’t your loved one deserve, when they fall in her living room at 3am, to have a private BMW SUV pull up, with an air compressor lift than rolls out like a yoga mat and plugs into the compressor, quietly lifting up to 700lbs into a recliner chair non-traumatically:  Basically creating a stable air balloon chair!

Now you have a veteran ER nurse, very capable of completing a head-to-toe assessment, v/s, RN assessment for trauma/injury as well as the need to go into the ER. And if they do, I have an electric chair lift installed into my front passenger seat of my work vehicle that is insured for client transport. 

I am happy to help!  No lights/sirens… No noisy neighbors the next day sending over casseroles & advice… Just 24/7 Post Fall Crisis Intervention, capable of electrically lifting a client from post fall in their living room, to evaluation with a veteran ER RN, to, if needed and/or consented by family, transport and RN Chaperone Service as needed:  I am A Better Way. I will make sure she is brought into the ED & triaged appropriately. If necessary, I can also assist in bringing them home afterwards and reviewing discharge instructions.

A Better Way Health & Wellness Services is available to gently support, or completely manage, depending on each Rhode Islanders unique situation and needs.  Please give me a call or email today! I am committed to empowering you to live your best self everyday!

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