Today is National Nurses Day! We invite you to join us in recognizing the important role nurses play in helping to keep us healthy and safe. During the day take a moment to give the nurses in your life a socially distanced high five or elbow bump. A hot cup of coffee is always welcome, too. At KVC, we are immensely thankful for our incredible mental health nurses and their dedication to the communities we serve!
At KVC Hospitals, we salute the work and contributions of our nurses who work tirelessly to care for children and teens who are struggling with depression, anxiety, the impacts of trauma, suicidal thoughts and other mental health struggles.
In this blog, some of our mental health nurses share what drew them to the profession, why they are passionate about mental health, and how their teams worked quickly to adjust to the impacts of COVID-19.
Stephanie, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at KVC Hospitals Hays, knew she wanted to be a nurse at a very young age. She saw how healthcare professionals took care of her younger sister who battled multiple health challenges in addition to being born with Down Syndrome. “Even as a child myself, I saw how well she was taken care of,” Stephanie says. “And I appreciated how protective they were when advocating for her interests. I knew I wanted to be a nurse who worked with kids.”
Paul, a Registered Nurse (RN) at KVC Hospitals Kansas City, was always interested in science and saw himself in the role of being a helper. This came into sharper focus for him when he became a full-time caregiver to his grandfather. “I found taking care of him to be a rewarding and fulfilling experience,” Paul explains. “I decided that I wanted to be a helper. My mission in life is to help and be a champion for the vulnerable.”
Diadra, an LPN at KVC Hospitals Wichita, knew from a young age that she wanted to help other people overcome mental health struggles. “I wanted people to know that I would always be there to help and support them in some of the worst moments of their lives,” Diadra shares. “Today, I am living that dream! I love knowing that in these critical times of our clients’ lives I get to show them how much they matter, give them a warm smile, and advocate for them to the best of my ability.”
Their Greatest Hope for Mental Health Care? Remove the Stigma.
Paul says, “Every person should have access to healthcare without barriers. I hope that mental health services can be expanded and provided as a human right.”
Stephanie agrees. “We need to normalize the discussions around mental health and advocate for mental health care. Removing stigmas around mental health will help people seek out help before crises happen. People should have access to affordable and reliable care.”
Diadra echoes Paul and Stephanie, stating, “My greatest hope for mental health care is that we find more resources to support people with all areas of life struggles so that they can focus on improving their mental health.”
KVC’s Mission and Vision Fits With Theirs
Stephanie says that for her, being part of the KVC family is a “dream come true.” As a teenager, she was inspired by a local foster parent. “I listened to her talk about the importance of caring for and advocating for children who came from difficult situations,” she says. “She was patient and dedicated to their mental health needs, and that had a big impact on me.”
As Stephanie learned more about KVC, she found that her passion for her work was aligned with the organization’s. “I was drawn to the way our teams help make life better for the kids and their families,” she says. “It’s a joy to provide for and advocate for their medical and behavioral healthcare, therapy and education.”
Diadra shares that she has always felt called to work with children. “I believe that if we provide younger generations with more mental health education and coping skills, we are setting them up for more success in their lives long-term,” Diadra says. “I have always had a passion for changing lives. I am blessed to have the opportunity to help so many kids find hope, peace and love.”
Paul had previously worked at another mental health organization. When that organization lost its grant funding to continue its work, he lost his job. He knew he wanted to keep helping people so he reached out to KVC providers he knew and they encouraged him to apply. He landed the job at KVC and has continued his work of being a caregiver, helper and advocate. “I’m so grateful to have the ability to continue this mission and important work,” he says.
Getting Through the Pandemic
COVID-19 forced the nursing staff at KVC to summon their highest level of skill in adaptability and ongoing communication. “I am still astonished at the speed we were able to adapt to overcome the circumstances we were given,” says Bailey, Director of Nursing for KVC Hospitals.
At the height of the pandemic, Bailey in her leadership role was working diligently to find ways to meet patients’ needs and keep everyone healthy and safe. Another job responsibility she has undertaken is focusing on employee engagement. She helps make sure each person on her nursing team has what they need to do the amazing work that they do. That includes being attentive to how each nursing staff member is doing. “I had to be mindful of the impact COVID-19 was having on my staff’s mental health and work-life balance,” she says.
“We already work long hours, and in addition, our staff members who are parents were also having to serve as their kids’ teachers. It was all very overwhelming, especially in the beginning,” Bailey continues. “We needed to make sure we were taking care of our clients and each other during very difficult times.”
Through it all, KVC has continued to adhere to its mission of (and passion for) ensuring the well-being of the children in their care and their families.
KVC continues to follow CDC guidelines at all of its treatment centers and has implemented safety protocols to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. We monitor new information from the CDC daily, as well as from state and local public health officials.
About KVC Hospitals
KVC Hospitals provides compassionate and innovative treatment for children struggling with depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, the impacts of trauma, and other behavioral or mental health needs. Our children’s hospitals and residential treatment centers accept new clients 24/7 and are always available to answer any questions you have. Call us at 913-890-7468 or click here to find a location near you.