1. Meyer, Shaun RN

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I will begin with a quote from one of my nurses I received by text one day: "what kind of job can you drive through sun and snow, pick up cool whip for your patient and probably be home for lunch all in the same day? I am thankful for my job and my boss."


Our agency covers six counties in Western Nebraska. Obtaining a fleet of vehicles was a financial benefit for us, as each of my regular field staff of five can travel up to 1,000 miles every 2 weeks...and that is killer when paying mileage! My staff laughed when, thinking I was doing them a favor, I bought a couple of global positioning systems (GPS) for the vehicles. I didn't realize that most GPS systems do not recognize the roads and country addresses in the areas we cover, so my staff carry Platte maps in their vehicles, or watch for land marks such as mailboxes, certain trees, bridges, and red barns, as well as so many miles past the feedlot. To this point, the only one who has utilized the GPS systems is me, when I travel to the eastern part of the state for meetings in Lincoln or Omaha. Go figure.


The protocols we go through when winter OR summer hit are important, as both seasons can be hazardous to a stranded driver. I do not let either season go by without making sure the nurses have blankets and coats, bottled water, granola bars, and so on in their vehicles. And, all year round toilet paper is an unspoken must!


The field nurses seem to be experts on where to stop for a clean bathroom, a drink, or the shortest route to get from one county to another in the quickest manner. Now, speaking of "quickest" manner, I mean shortest, but they mean quickest. I have had the local sheriff call and mentioned that some of my nurses drive a little "fast." I have reminded them of the rules that apply to driving a company vehicle, as well as the fact that we do not pay speeding tickets. Having nurses on the road can also be a little scary, especially when they lose control on the gravel and roll their car, which has happened twice in the 14 years I have been here. Luckily, no one has been injured. We have only suffered a broken thermometer and a totaled car out of the deal. So much better than a broken nurse.


One thing we are beginning to experience in our area, is meeting untrustworthy people. I think we have become so trusting of people in the Midwest, we just assume that they have no ill intentions. Lately, we have had three instances where things could have gone south for the staff member. It was an "eye-opener" for them and the remaining staff. Now I think the nurses approach each home knowing they need to be prepared for the possibility of ill will in people, something we are generally not accustomed to in the Midwest.


We look around our table at our weekly staff meetings and all feel so blessed to be part of a team like ours. Each person knows the meaning of "team work" and lives it. I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people in the world to have a team and a job like mine. Each of my staff are blessed with their own gifts and talents and they bring so much to the lives of their patients and to the team.


Go Big Red!!