“There’s always a new challenge each day,” says Dana Hess, mother of three kids and RN of 11 years from Ohio. To her, nursing is not just about having medical expertise, it’s about fostering positive relationships with coworkers and patients. She says that the first step in making the right medical decisions is establishing trust and honesty with your patients and residents so they feel comfortable sharing their symptoms.

“My family came from the old country where you have a dozen great aunts. So when I was little, I’d always visit my grandparents and great aunts and uncles in nursing homes. I saw how the demeanors of different nurses can affect the residents’ comfortability and grew up around different qualities of patient care.”

Dana explains how she saw nurses ignore and disregard patient’s symptoms, noticing that residents would sit silently in pain because a “mean nurse” was on call, but when a “nice nurse” was on call they would open up honestly about how they’re feeling. So she thought, “If you’re sitting in pain and afraid to tell the woman that’s going to help you, that’s not good at all. So I decided I was going to be the nice nurse. Even if they’re not my patient, maybe they’ll say, ‘oh it’s Dana, maybe I can tell her what’s wrong, and she can help.’”

Dana always checks her mood at the front door and comes to work as “the nice nurse.” She asks her residents how they’re feeling; if they’re hungry, thirsty, or need anything, it lifts their mood, and they’re more comfortable expressing what’s going wrong. And during the pandemic, they’ve felt lonely and isolated and are even less likely to come forth with a possible symptom. “Sometimes even small pains can be a sign of something worse, especially if they’ve just had surgery or if they are at risk for stroke.”

Dana remarks on how much the nursing industry has changed since she started. “I remember working alongside people who became nurses because they wanted to help people and make a difference in people’s lives. Over the years, my coworkers have been increasingly burned out and are not able to provide their best care because of it.”

When a fellow nursing professional shows signs of burnout, Dana takes it upon herself to listen to them, see what their point of stress is, offer to help them with their tasks, and lend them a friendly ear and words of advice.

“I always say that I get stressed out too, so I understand the way they’re feeling. For me, physical fitness is a huge part of decompressing after work. I start my day with some cardio and weights so that I feel good, ready to give back. So, I’m always looking for ways to get my fellow nurses to pick up new hobbies that help them maintain that giving mindset. When I was younger, I was a typical nurse – always putting others before myself. But over time, I learned that I need to take care of myself so that I can take care of others. That’s what I say to nurses who are going through what I went through.”

Before switching to IntelyCare, Dana’s work/life balance was less than ideal. She was doing field nursing, working 16-hour shifts on weekends when she started to feel symptoms of burnout. “I felt like I was the last nurse that cared,” regularly following through on other’s responsibilities on top of her own. “It got to the point where people would bring me their tasks when I was available, just because they knew I was the one who could do it.” Dana was overworked. 

“Once I switched to IntelyCare, it gave me my love for nursing back.” 

The ability to go to different facilities, work with new people, and solve new problems without others relying on her to do their work was exactly what Dana needed to reignite her passion for nursing.

Now that she is busy with her 2-year-old daughter, 7-year-old daughter, and son with autism, she doesn’t have a lot of time for different hobbies. But she used to be an avid love poet! We were lucky enough to hear one of those poems and are encouraging her to keep doing what she loves. And we’re honored to provide the platform for her to share her piece…

Do you love me or do u not?

You told me once but I forgot.

I do believe that god above

Created you for me to love.

If I die and go to heaven I’ll wait for you by golden stair.

If on judgment day you’re not there

I’d give the angels back their wings

There golden harps and other things

Just because my love is true 

I’d go to hell just to be with you.

Thank you, Dana, for sharing your beautiful poem and providing quality care with determination and an open heart. We’re here to care for nursing professionals the way they care for their patients. See our Nurses Week initiatives here

IntelyCare gives nursing professionals like Dana the ability to transform the way they work. Are you ready to take control of your life? Apply today to get started.