“Actually, right before you called, I was helping save a man from passing out at the store…”

Tammy Koslowski is a Certified Nursing Assistant from Massachusetts. Just moments before our interview, she was out shopping when she noticed a man who looked like he needed help…

“I noticed a man across the aisle when I was at the store earlier today. He didn’t look too well; he was leaning over his cart, and he just wasn’t acting right. It really seemed like he was struggling, so I went over to him and asked how he was doing. He told me he was diabetic, so I said, ‘alright, let’s get you some orange juice, sit down, and wait for assistance.’ I alerted the people around me that he needed help, and they were quick to respond. He seemed embarrassed, but I assured him it was going to be okay. Then the firemen and paramedics came and took him to take care of him… And then I proceeded with my day… I definitely think it’s my instincts as a nurse that’s allowed me to notice when people need help… It’s just what I do. It’s who I am.”  

Tammy grew up in a military family of chemists who wanted her to follow in their footsteps. But for Tammy, it just wasn’t her calling. When she was younger, she was the one in her family who took care of her diabetic grandmother. So caring for people has always been a part of who she is. 

“I always wanted to be a nurse. When I was in the sixth grade, we did an adopted grandparents program. When I went into the nursing home and saw nurses and CNAs doing their thing, caring for people, I thought, ‘wow, I want to do that.’ It’s challenging because now the pandemic has taken a real toll on nurses. They haven’t been able to give the quality of care they used to be able to give. And you can feel the sadness amongst the residents because they can’t see their family the way they want to. So my goal is to try and do something to brighten their day, even just a little bit. And I’m just an easy-going person, so I’ll try to bring the life back into a facility when I’m working a shift just by having a positive attitude so that it can rub off on other CNAs and nurses.”

Trying to pick people’s spirits up amidst a pandemic, understaffed shifts, and lonely residents is exhausting. So when Tammy has a moment for herself, she likes to go hiking. She’s also taught herself how to crochet blankets and hats and enjoys reading Stephen King novels. She is a Stephen King buff and is currently reading The Outsider, saying, “I know they made a show out of the book recently, but Stephen King is such a detailed writer, it’s just hard to compare.” She also takes some time out of her schedule to go on a vacation to recharge her nursing batteries. She hopes to revisit relaxing Aruba or go skiing with family in Germany. Though big vacations aren’t safe at the moment, over the summer, she managed to take a weekend to hike the White Mountains in New Hampshire, saying that “you have to take the time to get out and staying active. It’s healthy for body and soul, too.” 

Before using IntelyCare, agencies denied her from taking holidays off to see her family in Germany. But with IntelyCare, she’s able to work on her own terms, which has allowed her to see her family more frequently. For Tammy, the ability to have that flexibility is priceless. Before using IntelyCare, she recalls her work feeling like “groundhog day; just the same thing over and over.” Staying focused and compassionate as a caregiver used to be hard for her when her days were like that.

“The last straw for me working in a traditional, full-time setting was when I wasn’t able to welcome my partner home who was returning from military deployment. I didn’t see him for a year. I asked a month in advance for one day off on Veterans Day to take him out and still got denied. It was devastating… They knew it too. They knew he was coming home for a month and they couldn’t give me that one day… That’s when I put my two weeks notice in.”

Tammy’s biggest piece of advice for new nursing professionals is to find time to do what makes them happy. People are drawn to nursing because they’re driven by a sense of compassion for others. But along the way, tough working conditions burn them out. So when she sees her fellow nurses and CNAs experiencing burnout, she’s quick to recommend the solution. 

“The other day when I was getting some blood work done, the CNA was telling me about how she was a single mom and how the facility was giving her problems I used to have. So I said, ‘check out IntelyCare. It’s going to help you the way it helped me.’ I was actually on a zoom call with other CNAs in my nursing program, talking about their less-than-great experiences working as facility staff. I just kept saying, ‘I actually love my job now, it’s stress-free.’ And it’s crazy, I see it in other IntelyPros, too. They’re stress-free and bring such positivity with them. They have pride and confidence in their work, and it shows.”

We wish Tammy the best as she continues her nursing program. We’re humbled to support such a positive and compassionate person like her in advancing her healthcare career and becoming an LPN. 

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