Brooke Vanderpool is Assistant Vice President of Patient Services at NHC HealthCare. Brooke has been with NHC for 16 years where she has moved from hands-on nursing to her current role of striving to deliver the best patient care to all NHC patients.  Brooke’s insights on all types of senior care are further informed by being a Certified Dementia Practitioner and Wound Care Certified.

Why do nurses sometimes prefer senior care to the hospital setting?

After working in hospital care, Brooke found her true passion was senior care.  She thinks that nurses are trained to care for the whole person but so many times hospital care is very short-term.  In senior care you get to see and treat the whole person, both their health and their social well being.  Nurses can use their comprehensive medical skills.

When a patient is admitted to a healthcare center, what does their nursing team look like?

In senior care, there is an interdisciplinary team assigned to every patient.  Included on the team is a physician or the Medical Director, an RN, an LPN, a CNA (certified nurse assistant), and any specialists needed like therapist or wound care.  Because of the flat organization, there is constant communication with the Director of Nursing and the unit managers.  Additionally, social workers, therapists, a registered dietician and activities director are part of the team.

Are there more opportunities for nurses in senior care?

There are lots of ways to specialize and grow based on interests.  We have individuals who work primarily in health record information, quality assessments, wound care, restorative nursing, staffing coordinators and CNA instructors.  Most nurses are very skilled teachers.

 How does this team affect families?

Families have the opportunity to connect with our nurses and the whole team works with the patient and their family.  A great bond develops between them.

How are nurses adapting during the COVID-19 crisis?

Brooke says the nursing teams have stepped up during the crisis to help families connect with patients on calls, Skype, Facetime and even window visits in some centers. They have tried to provide more social interaction and are often seen having conversations with a patient or doing something personal like painting their nails.

Were nurses prepared for the COVID-19 virus?

Nurses are trained in infection control so the universal precautions and isolation precautions are not new.   They are just practicing it more now.   Nurses are flexible and skilled in adapting to change.

Are nurses still learning?

There are so many opportunities for advancement and certification in specialty areas.  And we support nursing training with tuition reimbursement programs.  During the crisis, there has been a temporary nurse training program implemented and people who are interested in nursing can apply and have real experience in our centers.