Happy National Nurses Day from WellLife Network
Nurse Gregory was on a cruise when she noticed several other nurses tending to a group of people with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities. She was taken aback as she had never seen nurses working in this capacity and caring for people with such kindness. It was amazing, she thought to herself, so she asked the group how they got into this type of work. It was here that Ms. Gregory first heard about WellLife Network. She immediately applied for a job and is now going on her 19th year as Registered Nurse (RN) with the organization.
“I got a different perspective from a different side of nursing at WellLife, and it is very moving,” said Nurse Gregory. When asked why she has stayed at WellLife for so long, she told us, “This is a very unique nursing job. The individuals you work with become like family. That is why I’m still here.”
Ms. Gregory is 1 of 50 nurses employed by WellLife Network. “We have multiple divisions, and each division brings their own approach to their respective program,” said Leonard White, Director of Nursing at WellLife. Nurses like Ms. Gregory work in our housing and day habilitation programs, monitoring the health of our participants and administering medication.
“We provide a lot of individual care, it is a lot like case management,” said Leonard, who explained the various roles the nurses play at WellLife. “The nurses help when the doctors need it, they provide training to the nurses that are coming in, they go above and beyond and wear different hats while doing it,” White elaborated.
In our Mental Health Division, we met with Gary Martin, a nurse with 37 years of experience, who started at WellLife in January 2022. “I sit here working in Smithtown–and I have worked in lots of environments–this is an extremely professional environment” he said. WellLife Network was recommended to Gary from a friend who knew of his extensive background in psychiatric nursing. Although he was retired and initially skeptical of returning to this field, he now believes it was the best decision he ever made. “It’s not about the income it’s about me providing care and me being comfortable about what I’m doing.”
Gary works for the WellLife PROS Program where he provides outpatient services and administers medication for people with mental health challenges. “I used to work inpatient for years and it was incredibly intense, the patients are very unpredictable and sometimes it could get dangerous. But this job is different. I am very blessed,” said Gary. “This job has been very good to me. I ask myself ‘where was this job 30 years ago?’”
One of the things that Gary loves most about WellLife is being able to see his clients doing well in the community. He will often see participants while shopping and going about his daily routine, and they will give him a smile and a wave. It is a small gesture, but it means a lot to Gary who knows that he was able to play a role in this person’s ability to live independently in the community.
In many cases, nursing means long hours, difficult shifts, working different roles, and always being in high demand. While the pandemic may have set a lot of people back and pushed others to work remotely, nurses did not have the same fate. In fact, during the pandemic their workload doubled. As COVID-19 cases rose, some nurses had to come out of retirement to fill the national shortage.
WellLife Network is proud to celebrate National Nurse Day. Our nurses continually go above and beyond for their patients, showing compassion and truly caring for everyone they serve. It is amazing to have such a strong team of individuals dedicated to improving the health and wellness of New York’s most vulnerable people. "Nursing is an intricate part of our program and this place cannot function without them" said White, about all his nurses. From all of us at WellLife Network, thank you for your work and have a happy Nurse Day!