When Amanda King, LPN, cares for the residents of Southeast Georgia Health
Senior Care Center in Brunswick, she sets aside her weariness and concerns. Her attitude
conveys courage and confidence to the residents, even as she copes with
the biggest challenge of her career.
“I try to go into work in a good mood so the residents will be in
a better mood. The best part of my job is making a difference in a resident’s
life with a conversation or by bringing a smile to their face,”
Being of service comes naturally to her. “As a kid, I helped care
for my brothers. I enjoy taking care of others.” That inclination
led King to earn a Licensed Practical Nurse certificate from the Medical
Careers Institute in Virginia. While there, she learned the importance
of teamwork. “Nursing school is not easy; you need a support system.”
Fortunately, the nursing profession is “all about teamwork”,
King says, especially at the Senior Care Center. “We work well together
and put our residents first.” In addition to her supportive co-workers,
she appreciates the Health System. “They care about their employees
and want to see us succeed. They offer tuition reimbursement and are flexible
with our school schedules. There’s so much room to grow with the
Coping with COVID-19
COVID-19 has forced all frontline health care workers to grow in ways they
never knew possible. King says her personal and professional life changed
“dramatically”. Like other Senior Care Center staff, she is
tested weekly for COVID-19, washes her hands “constantly”
and wears a mask 12-13 hours a day. “It’s definitely more
stressful, but we try to not appear stressed in front of the residents.”
When she cares for patients diagnosed with coronavirus, King maintains
a heightened level of safety. “I must protect myself and the patients
completely when I go in and out of their rooms.” Patients with COVID-19
are cared for separately, in rooms specially designed to contain the virus.
As her professional life became more complex, King’s personal life
became more constricted. She rarely leaves home except to work. When she
does goes out, she wears a mask and carries hand sanitizer. Like her fellow
health care workers, she is frustrated by individuals who don’t
wear masks or social distance. “It’s starting to get to health
care workers. Do your part to help us stop this disease. Wear your mask.
If we can wear masks 12-13 hours a day, you can do it for a short time
when you’re out in public.”
Taking Time to Be Kind
King’s elderly patients also struggle with restrictions brought on
by the pandemic. Not having visitors is hard. The staff does their best
to keep residents connected with family through FaceTime, phone calls
and window-to-window visits. One day, a resident’s daughter was
especially upset at not being able to visit her mother. King took time
out to speak with the woman outside, at a safe distance. “I couldn’t
hug her, but reassured her that her mother was being cared for. I love
all of my residents.” Hearing King’s words, the daughter wept.
For Amanda King, it was a moment that makes all the hard work worthwhile.
For the family member, it was the kindness she needed, that we all need,
during this time of uncertainty.
The public is encouraged to send cards and letters to residents of the
Senior Care Centers. Send them to: Resident, c/o Senior Care Center, 2611
Wildwood Dr., Brunswick, GA 31520, or to Resident, c/o Senior Care Center,
805 Dilworth St., St. Marys, GA 31558.