LPN Lorna Campbell’s calling to become a nurse (and her knack for compassionate, loving care) formed in her early years.
These roots in nursing stem from doting on her grandmother when Campbell was a child. She described this experience and how she’d give her grandmother all her meds and apply her ointments. Her grandmother used to say that Lorna was the best person to do the job.
“I always wanted to be a nurse, even when I was a young girl. . . I like to take care of people, whatever they need. . . I usually go beyond my duties to make sure they’re okay,” Campbell explained.
Campbell has dedicated her entire career to providing loving, compassionate care for others when they need it the most. She began her career as a CNA in New York, working the night shift. Soon she moved to Florida, and when her children were very young, she started checking off more classes and training, and little by little earned her LPN certification in 2005. Nowadays, she’s a star nurse at Consulate Health Care of Melbourne.
Through it all, compassion fuels her. “If you’re compassionate, you can do a better job. You don’t just walk away when a situation doesn’t seem right. If you’re in a difficult situation and you have compassion, you can get to it, get to the bottom of it, and get through it somehow.”
To Campbell, it seems that compassion goes hand-in-hand with integrity. It’s her impetus to “do a better job.” Compassion goes the extra mile. Compassion ensures that residents receive the best care possible. In Campbell’s words: “I love to do my job, I take pride in it. I like to make sure I help residents, get them well. Whatever I can do, I will always do.”
Campbell shared a heartbreaking story about a resident who received earth-shattering news near the end of her life. “About a year ago, a resident was told she had six months or less to live, and she was so upset, and I was on [shift] that day, and when I came to work, she called me crying… and I encouraged her, assured her that everything will be okay. I was with her for most of the time before she passed. And at the time when she told me, I didn’t really believe her—she had cancer, and she said it spread, but she still looked healthy to me. And I was with her until the last day. I took care of her, whatever she wanted, made sure her medication was on time, and some of the time she was a little scared, so I held her hand and talked to her ‘til the end.”
The value of this kind of love cannot be emphasized enough. Campbell shows up for people when they need her the most, and embodies the best that Consulate Health Care has to offer.
Despite the emotionally-heavy nature of it all, she rises to the occasion. She understands the deeply conflicting, sensitive, and sacred nature of this life transition.
As such, she knows it’s only certain people “with a calling” who can fill this role. It takes a special person to perform such empathetic and emotionally-charged work. As mild-mannered and humble as she was in her interview, even Campbell confirmed that, “not everybody can do this.”
She humbly stated, “Residents love me because I’ve been here so long,” but it’s no mystery that the affection she shares with them goes deeper than any time clock record or resumé of past employment. Through the phone, her Jamaican-accented voice was filled with warmth and kindness, and anyone could detect her true authenticity.
As result of her kind compassion and tireless work, Campbell was Consulate Health Care of Melbourne’s OnShift Engage winner for the month of May, and won the care center’s drawing for a laptop.
In the OnShift Engage program, employees earn points for an array of satisfactory work habits. Yet Campbell said: “It’s not complicated for me, because I love the work.” She’s not in it for materialistic rewards; however, the extra boost of motivation and encouragement is much appreciated, and it even encourages some staff to pick up extra shifts. “A little encouragement goes a long way.”
While these extrinsic rewards of the OnShift Engage program aren’t at the heart of Campbell’s work ethic and compassionate care, when asked about future Engage goals, Campbell said she has her eyes set on the cruise vacation drawing. “I work hard, so I have to play hard.”
Regardless of any recognition, Campbell advised others in her role on the power of teamwork: “Come to work with a positive attitude. Know it’s going to be a good day, don’t look on the downside… Unless we work together, we cannot get the work done. It might be difficult some days, but we always have to work as a team. . . Encourage other workers to do the same. We have to get the work done, so let’s do it and have a great day. And we’ll get through it.”
Regarding her plans for the future: “I love what I do. . . I like to do geriatrics, I like to take care of the elderly, so I’ll just work in the nursing home and do the best I can until I can do no more.”