Weather conditions no deterrent to local nurses

Authored by Jim Langham on Jan 6, 2014

There has never been a morning in 20 years that Chalet Village nurse Linda Clemons hasn’t made it to the facility to carry out her responsibilities to residents.
A few times she has had to jump a battery, but she has always walked through the door on time to report to service.
“Ten years ago I was stranded on this end because the roads were so bad,” observed Clemons. “I just stayed here all night and started back working the next day.
“I have to make sure that I give myself time to start sooner if the weather is bad,” Clemons said. “I live in Portland. If it snows a lot, I have a pickup or four-wheeler to help me get here.”
“All employees here pitch in,” commented Linda Minch, who is involved in housekeeping. “There is a strong spirit of dedication among all of the employees. We all go through similar weather inconveniences when bad weather sets in.”
Minch said that she lives four miles from the facility along a main road so she often gets plowed through the process of snow plowing on the highway.
“When that happens, I call for someone to pick me up and I wade over the snow mounds to their car,” said Minch.
“If it gets too bad, sometimes the police bring employees,” continued Minch. “A few times the kitchen help has stayed all night so that they would be here in the morning to cook breakfast for the residents. We all work together as a team when there are weather emergencies.”
Minch said that there have been times in weather emergencies when she has changed from her regular responsibilities of housekeeping to delivering trays and helping nurses and aides.
Clemons said that there have been a few times that the cold has gotten so severe that she couldn’t start her truck to go home. In those cases, she has either stayed at the nursing home or had someone help her get home. On other occasions, she has worked double shifts when employees couldn’t get in.
“Whoever gets stranded here helps cover for others that can’t get in,” said Clemons. “We’re glad to help. The residents always thank us and make us feel good. Everyone is glad to do what they have to do to help.”
Clemons said that part of her dedication comes from her background of being raised on a farm.
“When you learn to work on a farm, the weather can’t stop you. You have to do the work in spite of the weather,” Clemons said.
“You just think about the residents, what you can do to make them feel better, to make them laugh or smile or do little things. A lot of times you know they don’t feel good but their attitude still makes you smile,” added Clemons, who worked for 20 years in a facility in Piqua, Ohio prior to coming to Berne.
Minch said that she takes real pride in cleaning resident’s homes and making them feel good about their surroundings. She finds great satisfaction in residents having clean rooms and a clean atmosphere to live in or to visit in when family and friends come in.
“I hear of some of them saying when they want something done in their room, ‘go get Linda.’ That’s worth everything. How could I ever stay home when someone is asking for me like that? I want to be here for them,” said Minch.
“I never think about whether I can get in or not, even in the worst weather,” added Clemons. “I just come.”

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