Position: Nurse Case Manager / Discharge Planner
Organization: Placentia Linda Hospital
What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
Fran Newhouse was borne to Basque/Spanish immigrant parents and live for her first 21 years on her family’s sheep ranch in the hills of Brea. Growing up on the ranch, she was encouraged to be independent and self-reliant, and to care and provide for others (which included the animals as well). “It is where it began for me, and I am thankful for the family that I came from,” she said.
At the age of 18, she entered Junior College to become an LVN. Graduating at 19, she went to work at St. Jude’s on the surgical floor and eventually went to the emergency room. She expanded her education while still working, and becoming a Registered Nurse at age 28. Later, she received a BA in Sociology at age 32 and a Masters in Health Care at age 35. “Those years is when I discovered my abilities and confidence as a person, and realized I could make a difference in a field that was so important to me.”
Fran actually retired and stepped back from management positions few years back, but she couldn't stay away for long! She came back to work and care for her patients. What is more impressive is that she only missed one day of work in her 59 years serving her patients.
Why should this person be nominated
Fran has worked at Placentia Linda hospital since they first opened that's 45 years ago. She has received many awards and recognitions over the years, too many to list in this short bio. It took me a while to convince her to show them to me. I wasn’t expecting to see so many, a full box full of thank you letters, awards, certificates and even awards from CEOs and hospital management. This was impressive, but what was most impressive was the large amount of thank you cards given to her by family members and seniors themselves. Those cards are amazing and clearly show all the things that she has done and how supportive she has been with patients and seniors.
There are too many stories and it will take hundreds of pages to go ever every one of them, and when I asked her to tell me a few stories, she was able to tell one after the next. She visibly transformed when telling the stories. She was happy, she was in peace, and her passion was tangible.
Here are few that she told me:
“I drove an elderly patient home (I have taken patients home many, many times over the years) because he didn’t have anyone to care or drive him home - don’t tell anyone, I was not supposed to do that…well all my all bosses are retired now. When we got to the house, he didn’t have any food, so I took him shopping, cleaned his house and cooked a meal. Well, that wasn’t the only time I cleaned a patient's home. I had one young mother that came to the hospital and she had left her daughter at home, so I went to check on her, when I got there she had not eaten, so I cooked her some food and cleaned the house to make sure that she was safe. I kept checking on her morning and night until her mom came home. They didn’t have anyone else, so if I didn’t do it then no one else would. When it was time for her to get back home, I drove her back and she came back to a safe daughter and a cleaned home.”
Fran has given clothes and or gone shopping for pants and shirts for seniors when patients’ pants had to be cut off or when they came to the hospital with nothing. She’s cooked and shopped for food, medication, clothes, drove them home, cleaned their homes, took them shopping…she’s just always done whatever it took.
Here is one of the cards that she shared with me;
"When I came to the hospital, I had no shoes, no pants, I just had a wind breaker. She scrambled around and got me some socks and shoes. I'm 57 years old and I had an old white beard that had not been shaved for over two years and she took upon herself to shave my beard. I think she is irreplaceable, she had arranged transportation to take me home. I will never forget her. "
"Fran has welcomed me and my husband to the Placentia Linda hospital family each time we needed care. She truly is is the rose of the welcoming and caring spirit of the hospital. She is much loved and how blessed you are to have her here. Thank you from the Botton of our hearts."
She told us, “All these years of experience has taught me many things about life, but the main thing for me is that they have made me realize what is important. I am clear what constitutes ‘workability’ is partnership with administration, physicians, nurses, and employees working together to provide the maximum quality of care for seniors and every patient alike. Also equally important is having integrity in the workplace where honoring one's word to self and others provides workability for all. I have learned in my career and in taking care of patients and families is that what makes a difference is listening acutely, showing you care, understanding, and providing a safety net when necessary. There are sometimes when patients or family members feel anxious or scared concerning their condition or discharge arrangements. As a Case Manager, I believe it is important that our patients leave complete, satisfied and knowing what to expect in their discharge plans. At times, there is a patient or family member who is hesitant about the nursing home they are going to, or the care they may be receiving when they get home, wondering if they’re going to be alright. I always try to allay their fears by explanation, and giving them my business card with my home phone number when they are discharged so that they can call me anytime. I always respond to any further questions or concerns that may arise. I have done this over the years to providing a safety net for those that may need it.”
Fran has the same zest for this profession as when she first started in Health Care. There have been so many changes in the Health Care System over the years, yet as she reminds herself to just take care of one person at a time, and do the very best, she says “The experience is always heavenly. This is the work I know that has provided me with a life that I love, and I’m forever grateful to be a part of taking care of patients and their families.” WE think YOU are “heavenly,” too!