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The work of a VNA home health nurse is challenging, rewarding and inspirational. Just ask Kayla Arpin, RN, of Glocester. “You truly get to know the patients. You see their progress and that’s gratifying,” said Kayla.

Kayla is a home health, registered nurse with the VNA of Care New England. Kayla came to the VNA four years ago, after working in a sub-acute unit in a nursing home. Her friend told her about the opportunities available at the VNA and after doing a job shadow, she knew it would be just the right fit.

“I love it. I love being out on my own,” said Kayla. “It’s very different from being on the floor at say a hospital or nursing home. You are out and about traveling to patients’ homes and your focus is them, one patient at a time. In a facility, you have a lot of patients at once so you’re in and you’re out. In this job, you get to know the patients and their families and that’s what I like.”

Kayla Arpin, RN
Kayla explained, “The patients are your priority, they need to feel comfortable, and the nurse needs to be confident. It’s a very rewarding career as I have seen so many patients progress… In this field you see the progression, especially the wound patients- you see their wounds heal. It makes you feel good. Although a lot of time is spent on your own, you are never truly alone– you have the support of the VNA, and someone is always a phone call away,” said Kayla.

The unexpected or unplanned can happen. Patients fall or might need more advanced care than the visiting nurse can provide. Perhaps even the nurse is ill and needs to rush accommodations to ensure his/her patients receive their timely visits and care. The great thing about the VNA support network is there is always a team to rely on whether it be troubleshooting, problem solving or simply offering reassurance when dealing with more complex care issues.

Kayla came about an opportunity through a grant being offered through the VNA. Two years ago, the organization approached her about going back to school for her nursing degree, through a grant that would cover 75 percent of the cost. It was something Kayla had been thinking about for a while and although expecting a child, she accomplished an accelerated program and obtained her degree in just 22 months. She is now even considering an advanced degree.

According to Kayla, an average day of a home health nurse might include six patient visits, usually within the same geographic area of the state. The VNA does its best to keep travel convenient. When visiting a patient’s home, the home health nurse always introduces themselves, asking the patient their name and date of birth, confirming the patient they are supposed to be visiting. The nurse would review the patient’s medical history and discuss any new changes to their health. Next, a physical assessment is completed, medications are distributed and the patient is asked what else they may need from the nurse.

“I think it’s important to tell the patient a little bit about yourself too. If someone was coming into your home, you would probably want to know a little bit about them.

As a nurse in home care, you learn a lot about medication management, wound care and new medical products. There is always someone back at the VNA to support you with any questions you may have, which is comforting,” said Kayla.

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