“…I looked down the other hallway and saw feet coming out from under her doorway. I knew right away that she needed help.”

Shakira Hodge, LPN of 7 years from Ohio, recounts a memory from one of the hardest days of her healthcare career. “One of the toughest parts about my nursing job is seeing a facility short staffed. It’s very difficult, not just for the staff, but for the patients. It becomes an issue of neglect that is out of my control and it pains me. So, one day I and one other STNA were responsible for 35 patients. One of these patients was in the dementia and Alzheimer’s unit and was getting up and going in and out of rooms. So, I put up caution tape to block entry and exit to the rooms. When I was checking up on the other patients, she had tried to go under the caution tape but fell. Her daughter and family had just gotten off the elevator when I looked down the other hallway and her saw feet coming out from under her doorway. I knew right away that she needed help. When I rushed to check up on her she had no range of motion and couldn’t remember if she hit her head. I checked her head and found a small hematoma. I immediately called 911. Her daughter thanked me for taking care of her as best I could. She was okay when she left with the paramedics but when she came back, she was on hospice with a brain bleed.  Her daughter was there when they brought her back to the facility. She passed in her daughters arms. It was sad. It was heartbreaking. I did everything I could possibly do that day.”

For most of us, it’s hard to imagine getting back out there and continuing to be a care provider after an experience like that. But for Shakira, the memory of her grandmother and the future of her four children motivate her each and every day to continue giving care. 

Shakira’s grandmother was the reason she entered the healthcare profession, having been a home care nurse herself. When she cared for her grandmother in the final stages of her life, she knew she had found her calling in caregiving. “Her initial diagnosis was heart disease and diabetes. But when she passed, they found she also had a few other conditions including dementia. Not being in the medical field, I didn’t know where those diagnoses came from and it sparked my drive to understand these health conditions and care for the people who have them.” 

One of the most rewarding parts of her job is when she’s able to read her patients behavior and extend a helping hand that becomes the first step to a “complete turnaround” and a full recovery. Staying relaxed in high-tension situations helps her patients, other caretakers, and herself stay focused to see problems a patient may not come forth with. 

“As a nurse, you’re an advocate for your patient so you have to listen. You can’t just give them their pills and leave. Maybe your patient is sitting in a room crying. Find out why they’re crying. It may be an underlying issue and you might be that last ear that they need in order to save their life.”

Shakira hopes to further her education as a healthcare professional so she can apply her sense of compassion at a higher scale. She’s on her way to a masters degree and will use her flexible schedule to work around her education with IntelyCare. She also uses her flexible schedule to pursue productive hobbies that give her a way to de-stress and reset from the emotionally exhausting work of a nurse. 

“Because of the flexibility IntelyCare allows with my schedule, I have been able to spend more time doing the things I love. I’m a crafter, I actually have my own knitting and crocheting side business. It allows me to take my mind off of the stressful things in my job. I make masks, shirts, and hats for family, friends, and hopefully the IntelyPro community, too. You can find ‘Hodges Off The Hook’ on Facebook and Instagram.”  

Shakira also finds the time to travel to the Red Rock Canyon and to Las Vegas with her husband. She often goes out wearing her very own hand-made face masks. Her and her husband are planning a big move to Florida where she will continue to be an excellent care provider with IntelyCare. 

Thank you, Shakira, for sharing your stories from inside the facility. We’re honored to support healthcare heroes like you in their nursing journey and provide the freedom and flexibility to explore their passions.

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