Chablis T., LPN
For as long as she can remember, Chablis has always wanted to help people. It’s just in her nature to be caring, and she had her first opportunity to put her passion into practice when she was a little girl: “My great-grandparents lived with my family and my ‘Pop’ and I had a little side deal. He’d give me $2 a week to give him his meds. That was my first health care gig, at five years old!”
Fast forward 13 years when Chablis was ready to graduate high school. She was accepted into a nursing program, but couldn’t afford it at the time, so, instead, Chablis took what she thought would be a quicker path into health care—vocational school to become a medical assistant. She got licensed and certified as an MA, but never worked as one because she couldn’t find a job.
She eventually found employment as a certified nursing assistant and spent the next few years working in a few different long-term care facilities. Although she often felt overworked and underappreciated, she kept with it to support herself while she pursued her next goal—an LPN degree. Finally, when she got her license, she was more than ready to launch her career in nursing, but encountered another stumbling block: nobody would hire her because she didn’t have at least a year of experience. “How are you supposed to get work experience if no one’s going to hire you?” muses Chablis.
BAYADA was the only one that gave her a chance
Feeling discouraged yet determined to find a job in nursing, Chablis attended a career fair in 2017 that changed the course of her fate. She met two BAYADA employees who told her about the Nurse Residency Program for new nurse graduates. Intrigued and excited, Chablis quickly applied and before long, she was accepted.
“The Nurse Residency Program was an amazing opportunity to learn and practice the real-life nursing skills you need to care for someone at home,” explains Chablis. “We first had twelve weeks of classroom instruction and simulation (SIM) lab training, followed by a nine-month hands-on residency. In that time, I learned so much. I was comfortable with my nursing skills and my 24/7 clinical support before I ever worked independently in a client’s home. I felt prepared for anything.”
Chablis even learned complex care techniques, including tracheostomy and ventilator management. Her expertise in that area served her well as her first client was a 52-year-old man with muscular dystrophy who needed trach and vent management. She also provided respiratory therapy and performed catheter changes every day. Her current client—a 65-year-old man who had a stroke—also requires similar high-acuity care.
The ability to deliver highly specialized care to keep people living safely at home is immensely rewarding for Chablis. And just as much, she treasures the one-on-one relationships she has developed with her client and his family.
“His family loves me!” gushes Chablis. “And my client, who can speak but doesn’t talk a lot to others, has long conversations with me. I take care of him, but he always asks me how I’m doing. It’s so nice to have that connection.”
The sky’s the limit
According to Chablis, her nursing career has really taken off and only promises to keep going. Currently she is applying to nursing schools to earn her RN, and is hoping that a BAYADA Presidential Scholarship will help foot some of the bill.
After that? Chablis aims to be part of BAYADA’s ASPIRE program that helps clinicians like her advance their career by developing their leadership talents.
“But for now, I’m just so happy to be doing meaningful, interesting work as a BAYADA LPN. I feel like I found my forever work home.”
Hometown: Pennsauken, NJ
Education: I earned my LPN at Lincoln Technical Institute in Moorestown, NJ.
Advice to my younger self:
Share: Nursing isn’t for everybody, but if you possess a certain love and compassion for all people, sharing your passion for nursing is going to come naturally.
Care: Taking time for you is one of the hardest things about being a nurse. Even if it’s once a week, take a day off to regroup. Don’t risk getting burned out, because that can impact you and the care you give.
Dare: As humans we can become “stuck in our ways” with so many things, especially how we do our job. But you can’t have that attitude as a nurse, or as any medical professional. Always be willing and eager to learn new skills and knowledge.