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Every spring we take extra time to show our gratitude for the nursing staff at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor.

In May we celebrated National Nurses Week, whose theme was “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body, and Spirit.” This month we observe the 40th annual National Nursing Assistants Week, which kicks off June 15 with National Career Nursing Assistants Day. The theme for this month's celebration is “Nursing Assistants – I Choose Respect.”

We see our own nursing staff live out these themes every day, so we asked some of them to share what they love about their work, and what keeps them motivated.

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Elizabeth Trieu, CNA at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor.[/caption]

Elizabeth Trieu, CNA

Working as a certified nurse assistant was supposed to be a stepping stone for Elizabeth Trieu. She was planning to be a psychologist. But when her grandmother was hospitalized, an aunt suggested that Elizabeth become a CNA to earn more money for college.

Elizabeth took her advice, and then her life took a different path. "I came to find out early on that I truly enjoy what I do, and I can use a little bit of psychology in what I do by listening to my residents when they need someone to talk to," she said.

Elizabeth has worked at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor for a total of three years. In addition to helping residents with their daily activities, she also considers it her job to keep a smile on her residents’ faces and to put their family and friends at ease.

CNAs are constantly learning, Elizabeth said. It's a challenge that keeps her work interesting, especially when she is discovering a new resident's preferences.

"I look forward to interacting with my residents," she said. "They are such a delight to work with and truly make my day."

When she's not at work, Elizabeth likes spending time with her husband and their pets: Taz, a German shepherd; housecat Link; and Ernie the hermit crab. She likes to get outdoors and also appreciates art and historical buildings.

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Luz Maradona, registered nurse at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor.[/caption]

Luz Maradona, RN

Ever since she was little, Luz Maradona wanted to work in medicine. "When other kids would answer 'princess,' 'mother,' or 'cowgirl' when asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, I would always answer 'surgeon'."

Luz jumped at the chance to take a certified nurse's assistant class while she was still in high school, and she worked as a CNA through her senior year. After graduation, she added a second CNA job. Eventually she moved to Kansas City to attend nursing school while she worked at a nursing home in Olathe. She joined our team at Lawrence Presbyterian Manor just before earning her LPN in 2014, and she got her RN soon after.

"I was already working the perfect schedule, nights, to handle going to school while working full time. My coworkers were helpful and understanding with my tired self and would get excited as I progressed towards my end goal of graduating," Luz said.

Luz now continues to work at another nursing home and a rehab center. It's no surprise that she says the No. 1 challenge of nursing is multitasking!

"Not only is the phone ringing with doctors giving orders, families wanting to share information

about a loved one's routine, staff are asking advice on how to deal with different situations, medications need to be administered in a timely manner, and the residents need to be cared for -- all while maintaining a relaxed and calm environment," she said.

Even when it's busy, she says Presbyterian Manor is a positive work environment. "I look forward to walking into a place that I know and am comfortable in. The residents I take care of and the staff I work with are familiar and important people in my life," Luz said.

Away from work, Luz is an adventurer. She loves world travel and catching up with her large family when she has free time. Her parents are from France and Argentina, and Luz was born in Mexico. If she can't get away, she said, "I greatly enjoy spending hours locked into my latest book adventure."

Her childhood dream hasn't faded away, either. When time and resources allow, Luz would still like to become a doctor.

Be sure to show Luz, Elizabeth, and everyone on our nursing staff some extra appreciation this month for their dedication and hard work!

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