Position: RN Case Manager
Organization: Providence Little Company of Mary Hospital Torrance
What role does your nominee have in senior care and senior care issues?
Nancy Ortiz knew she wanted to be a nurse since the age of 12 – that’s when she helped to care for her mother at home after her back surgery, and she even helped with her IV antibiotics. So, fast forward to 1987, when Nancy received her LVN license. She worked as an LVN for a while and then when back to school to get her RN, which she received in 2007.
Why should this person be nominated
Many little girls say they want to be a nurse, but Nancy wasn’t kidding. After helping her mom after the back surgery when she was 12, she became a volunteer candy striper at a hospital at the age of 13. She enjoyed reading to the elderly and painting the older ladies’ nails to give them a little boost. Then she volunteered at the local nursing homes throughout her teen years.
Now as an RN case manager at a hospital, Nancy enjoys working with families who have elderly parents to help care for. Many of Nancy’s coworkers have a lot of good things to say about her – they sometimes even comment about the admirable amount of time she spends with her patients. “I love talking to them and figuring out what they need,” she told us. “I don’t like to see them treated as a number and patient in a room. They are people, they are grandparents, parents and family members, but sometimes they don’t have anyone to look after them. I can't help but try to do everything in my power to make them feel good and to help them have a great transition from the hospital to home or to a rehab. Sometimes after my shift ends, I sit down with them and listen to their stories.”
An example of Nancy’s care and dedication was when she was caring for an older gentleman who had advanced cancer. He was at the final stages of his life and he just wanted to fight as long as he could for his wife and family. He was finally ready to be discharged home. He was afraid of being a burden on his wife and he didn’t know how to express it to her. Nancy scheduled a time to meet with both him and his wife to help them talk and figure out a plan on how they could arrange help and be able to enjoy what little time they had left together. He passed 2 weeks later. A little while later, Nancy received a lovely note from his wife thanking her for helping them spend such great quality time together before his passing. She shared, “It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing I helped make a difference.”
Another time, she had beautiful woman in her 80’s that had fallen and broke her hip. Nancy told us, “She had such a beautiful spirit about her. She reminded me of my grandmother. She never had any children, so she was pretty much alone in this world except for some very distant nieces. She was afraid of what was going to happen to her.” This woman was unable to return home until she had continued rehabilitation for her hip fracture. Nancy talked with her about different rehab facilities, and showed her virtually tours of facilities on her laptop and helped the woman make the best choice for herself so she could ultimately be able to return to independent living. Nancy even went and visited her at her rehab facility. The woman was thriving and was expected to return home within 6 weeks.
Nancy let us know how she feels about what, to her, is more than a job, “It can be a very difficult process for families to navigate thru the system, and determine what resources are available and appropriate to assist with care. I always try and put myself in their shoes and do what would I would want for my parents.” Treating others the way you would want you or your family to be treated is a divine thing…and very heroic!