2019 SCHA Awards
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Position: Nurse Practitioner and Manager of Quality Assurance
Organization: Housecall Doctors Medical Group
List your nominee's experience in Senior Care.
Cheryl Villasenor has served patients as a dedicated Family Nurse Practitioner for over 30 years.
Cheryl was born in Louisville, KY and raised in Whittier, California. She is a proud graduate of California State University Long Beach with a graduate degree as a Nurse Practitioner. She also holds current Board Certification from American Nurses Credentialing Center; that demonstrates her commitment to excellence in her field.
Cheryl feels that her experience living and working in different environments has helped her appreciate local customs and traditions, and has inspired her passion for helping others. Cheryl spent much of her early career working for community clinics that supported the underserved population including women, children and seniors. Her passion for helping others runs deep!
“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
For almost 15 years, Cheryl has specialized as a Residentialist housecall clinician with Housecall Doctors Medical Group/At Housecall Doctors, she has dedicated her career to serving the homebound Senior patient population. She operates daily by embodying her favorite quote from Teddy Roosevelt: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” With that in mind, she has set the bar for true, genuine, care. Cheryl’s passion for seniors is what attracted her to the mission of Housecall Doctors Medical Group -- serving access-challenged seniors, and improving both quality of care and quality of life.
Thinking about the first time he met Cheryl, Dr. Norman Vinn, CEO of Housecall Doctors Medical Group states, “From the very beginning, Cheryl has radiated compassion and warmth. She is able to instantly bond with our patients. Cheryl’s compassion extends to her bedside manner and her incredible, patient-centered clinical skills. She is a genuine person who always puts the patients’ needs first. Cheryl truly understands the ‘whole person’ approach and the power of the Healing Touch”.
Describe how your Nominee has exceeded his or her Job Description, becoming a hero to you or others. Provide an example or as much detail as possible of the things that they do that go above and beyond their job description.
In the early years of the home-based medical practice, patients -- and sometimes other clinicians -- were skeptical of this type of clinical support. Cheryl faced quite a few obstacles to coordinating and leading in-home care. However Cheryl has always been a strong advocate for her patients and has never been afraid of a challenge! “Being allowed into the intimacy of someone’s personal space is such an honor” says Cheryl. “I enjoy learning about their lives, hearing their stories and being able to impact their health and quality of life… it’s very humbling”.
*Driving Miss Daisy!
Cheryl has many stories about her passion for her patients. She fondly remembers one patient who was in severe heart failure. According to Cheryl, “she was such a wonderful lady! I wanted to turn her situation around and make this as manageable as possible”. Cheryl knew her patient needed to be hospitalized and receive urgent medical attention. However the patient just would not go to the hospital. After many, many explanations about why the hospital visit was needed; she still refused to go.
Cheryl was beginning to feel hopeless. “I began to list options for her and her health. I felt that there was an underlying reason she was so adamant about not going to the hospital, and I was right. It had nothing to do with her medical condition. The patient didn’t want to leave her dog, Daisy without anyone to care for her.”
Clearly a creative solution was needed that addressed the needs of the Whole Patient. “At this point, says Cheryl, “I offered to take her dog to a boarding facility so that should wouldn’t have to worry while she was in the hospital”. This offer of generosity sealed the deal for this patient! The patient went to the hospital in an ambulance to receive much needed care and Cheryl and Daisy drove off to a boarding facility. The patient was forever grateful for Cheryl’s efforts to understand her devotion to her little dog, and to get both of them the care that they needed.
Cheryl is a special person, who radiates warmth and compassion to her patients. She has exceptional clinical skills and an excellent bedside manner that endears her to her patients. Her philosophy is to treat the whole person through a true demonstration of love, understanding, acceptance. Her commitment to putting the patients’ needs first is something patients and families have come to depend on.
Cheryl was caring for a particularly tough patient who was homeless. Cheryl recalls, “He did not trust in the clinical process and was not willing to help himself, but I was not going to give up”. After many missed appointments, Cheryl began to meet him in a community park he frequented. Cheryl began general treatment for diabetes and came up with different solutions to his various medical issues. After many months of building trust in her clinical skills and patient dedication, Cheryl was able to help him get his diabetes under control. The patient was so happy! As a token of his gratitude for Cheryl’s help, he gave her a free copy of his CD, “Hawaiian Cowboy Music”!
*Stitches and Safety!
Cheryl’s strength of thinking and working “outside the box” helps her to see each individual as more than a patient; she sees each one as a human being.
Cheryl partners with the sister of a patient to provide excellent patient care. The patient is in a wheelchair, and this dependency often makes navigating the home environment difficult. Recently, the patient fell out of the wheelchair and unfortunately, received over 30 stitches. The fall happened in the bathroom and after some examination and conversation; Cheryl felt there were safety measures they could put in place to make this environment safer for the patient. Cheryl was instrumental in researching and assembling bathroom safety items. During the next appointment, Cheryl arrived ready for home improvement! Cheryl took the time to ensure a bathroom accident would not happen again. The patients’ sister was in awe of Cheryl! She felt so blessed to have someone that is not only looking after her sister but to have someone willing to take time out of her personal day to make sure the living arrangements are safe; she truly feels fortunate to have someone like Cheryl. For Cheryl, patient safety and advocacy truly is a mission.
*Not One Patient, But Two!
Cheryl’s commitment to the patient extends to the whole family. Recently while visiting one of her patients, Cheryl discovered that his wife had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Although the husband was her patient, Cheryl made it a point to ask the wife about her care. At each visit, Cheryl would ask the patient’s wife about her illness, how she felt, ask about her appointments , and often provided advice and research about her illness. The wife was touched that Cheryl showed compassion and genuine care for her as well. Cheryl fully understood that the wife needed support, and that her health would also impact the health and well-being of her patient. Although Cheryl has a full patient panel, she always takes her time with each patient to find out how she can be of service.
Our Patients Say…..
There are many examples of Cheryl’s dedication, kindness and service to our patients over the last fourteen years. Her kindness truly goes above and beyond clinical support. Her patients feel connected to her due to her attitude of gratitude and caring.
One patient recently said, “We love her so much, I’m tearing up just thinking about her and how caring she is. She is so deserving of this award”.
We have received many touching stories about Cheryl’s care, stories that truly embody who she is, and what she believes is important to outstanding patient care. Cheryl will stop at nothing to ensure her patients are properly cared for! She is excited to see each patient. She gives them her undivided attention, answers all questions and concerns and makes them they feel like she is part of their family. Another of Cheryl’s patient responded, “She is more than just a nurse, she’s a member of the family & she oversees everything with care and never misses a thing”. A recent patient also said, “Cheryl is a beautiful person inside and out, and you can tell that she is genuine”.
Housecall Doctors Medical Group is proud to nominate Cheryl Villasenor for this award. These patient stories are only just a few of the many ways Cheryl has impacted her patients’ & their families’ lives. Cheryl treats each patient as a beloved member of her own family. She is known to take her time during visits and focuses on the patient as whole person rather than just a diagnosis. During her tenure with the Housecall Doctors Medical Group, Cheryl has focused on patients, quality improvement, mentorship and advocacy. Cheryl has changed the way people view in-home medical care. Her dedication and commitment to each patient and to the senior community as a whole is unmatched. Her enthusiasm, ideas and passion for the Senior community serve as an example to others of how to blend the science of nursing with the art of caring.