Roundtable Discussion: Nursing during a Pandemic

Roundtable Discussion: Nursing during a Pandemic

Long before nursing homes became ground zero for the Coronavirus pandemic, nurses and aides were already facing strenuous conditions and staffing shortages - according to nursing home advocates and industry experts. But COVID-19 turned these challenges into a full-blown crisis for these workers, who suddenly found themselves on the front lines of the pandemic.

“It’s hard work for sure, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I love what I do,” said JoAnn Arnoni, Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) for Allied Services Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Scranton.

In a recent round table discussion with JoAnn and some of her fellow team members from the skilled nursing center, we had a chance to learn what makes them stay in a career that gave them a front-row seat to one of the world’s worst pandemics.

“First you have to love what you do, and we all do – and then you have to love who you work with. That’s definitely the case here,” noted Stacie Kane, CNA.

“I know lots of people say that the people they work with are like family, but we really are here. It doesn’t stop when we walk out those doors. We’ve been in each other’s weddings. We’ve been there when babies have been born and when family and friends have passed away. We laugh together. We cry together. We are family.” Kane continued.

That was a common theme all around the table as we went from one to the other. Each one seemed to find a sense of family or community with their co-workers, and with the residents they care for.

“I love my residents. Every day is a new day for them and when I can make their day better – that makes my day better,” said Adam Cislo, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

“I’ve been doing this my whole life. My grandmother was a nurse and I grew up helping her take care of others. Then, when I was old enough, I became an aide at an area nursing home. After I earned my LPN through Fortis I came to Allied Services and I’ve been working on the Alzheimer’s Unit for 3 years now.”

So, if you love what you do and who you work with, is it enough to help see you through the strains of a pandemic?

JoAnn thinks those are important pieces to the puzzle, but the other piece is having support whether you’ve been around for 10 years or you’re the new kid on the block.

“You can’t just be thrown into a sink or swim environment. That wouldn’t work normally and definitely won’t work during a pandemic when things aren’t operating as usual.”

“I’m a preceptor – kind of like a teacher, but more than that - I help my new co-workers feel at home. Sure I show them around and help them with the routine, but I also help them feel involved and like they are part of the team.”

Melanie McAndrew, RN, BSN, was recently promoted to Wound Care Nurse and was grateful for the support she received from her co-workers while she was going to school.

“When I first came to Allied Services I started as a CNA. This was while I was going to Penn State to finish my nursing degree. All of the nurses I worked with were happy to show me what they were doing and would teach me along the way. That kind of experience was invaluable to me,” noted McAndrew.

Melanie took advantage of Allied Services tuition reimbursement programs to help fund her degree, and as we talked about her recent graduation, Stacie and Adam both shared that they were also using the programs as well.

Adam is using tuition reimbursement as he is finishing up the last credits towards his bachelor’s degree at Luzerne County Community College (LCCC). He plans to continue on with his nursing degree at Misericordia University.

Stacie, a mom of 3, is pursuing her nursing degree part-time at LCCC, and with the help of tuition reimbursement and scholarships offered by Allied Services, isn’t paying anything out-of-pocket this semester.

“I just think it really speaks to all the opportunities that are right here. There is room to grow, programs to help you, and people to support you,” said Stacie.

Learn more about rewarding career opportunities in skilled nursing.

Are you ready to join one of our skilled nursing teams? We currently have rewarding opportunities at our Scranton and Wilkes-Barre Skilled Nursing Centers. We have a wide range of rewarding opportunities with generous sign-on bonuses.

  • RNs earn up to a $15,000 sign-on bonus*
  • LPNs earn up to $15,000 sign-on bonus*
  • CNAs earn up to a $7,500 sign-on bonus plus newly increased hourly rates*

Allied Services offers competitive pay rates commensurate with experience plus shift differential, excellent benefits package, preceptor led orientation! Allied Services Human Resources Department, 100 Abington Exec. Park, Clarks Summit PA 18411. Call us today at 1-800-368-3910. Allied Services is an equal opportunity employer for individuals with disabilities. Bilingual individuals encouraged to apply.