|During National Nurses Week, May 6-12, let’s consider the key role La Hacienda’s nurses play in our treatment program.
“Patients at La Hacienda have access to 24/7 professional medical care,” says Rikke Sorensen, La Hacienda’s Nurse Administrator. “We are well-staffed, and our nurses have a positive attitude.”
That’s especially important during the detoxification process, when patients need unquestioning support. The department’s 17 fulltime nurses and 13 ancillary staff members work with physicians to see patients through the crucial process.
“Our nurses treat patients with dignity and respect,” says Nursing Manager Vorsha Sherfield. “No matter what unpleasant events may occur, they maintain an ‘it’s forgotten, it’s finished’ attitude afterward. Maintaining the patient’s dignity is vital.”
As Rikke puts it, “the nurses deal with the nitty-gritty, day to day,” and do it with amazing composure.
Asked to name qualities that she looks for in a nurse, Rikke starts with “compassionate, because what we are doing is very much about caring for our patients.”
Open-minded, flexible, and willing to learn are other traits she seeks. She also prefers individuals who are not afraid to speak up when they disagree, and to take the initiative to step in and help both patients and co-workers.
As with staff throughout the campus, being a team player is another essential quality.
“When we’re interviewing nursing candidates, we ask them what they value in colleagues,” says Vorsha. “They often say they want to work with persons who are collegial and collaborative, and that is what we want.”
In fact, most nurses are chosen for how well they fit the La Hacienda culture, rather than specific experience in working with addictions.
“It’s very hard to find nurses with pre-existing skills in substance abuse care,” says Rikke. “We seek people who fit our team and have outstanding nursing skills. Many gained their experience at major medical centers. They come here, adapt to what we do, and become very good at it.”
The nurses’ reward is seeing their patients’ transformation as they continue to provide nursing care as needed throughout the patients’ time here.
“We see that they have renewed hope, they’re healthier, and they’re re-establishing relationships with loved ones,” says Rikke.
“What we’re doing here is important,” says Vorsha. “It helps folks get a new start in life.”
National Nurses Week is celebrated annually to coincide with the May 12 birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910), the English social reformer and statistician, who is considered the founder of modern nursing.
During this week honoring Miss Nightingale and the health care workers she inspired, we give thanks for all the nurses, current and over the past four decades who have helped our patients start a new life.