Twice a month, 85-year-old Phyllis L. Hayworth gets a visit from one of her favorite people, nurse Audrey Cheadle.
“Audrey is the primary reason why I’m still independent,” says Phyllis, who lives in a senior living apartment at Good Samaritan Society – Fort Collins Village in Colorado.
“You can tell she loves her job and she loves what she’s doing.”
An RN case manager for Good Samaritan Society – Colorado Home Care in Loveland, Audrey keeps Phyllis independent by managing her medication and health care.“She’s easy to love,” Audrey says. “She’s got such an amazing spirit about her and she has not had an easy life.”
The two met when Phyllis was struggling to get a handle on her meds. Her choices were to move to assisted living or get some help.
“I get tickled at her because she can just go through (my medications) there,” Phyllis says imitating Audrey. “‘Da da da.’ Then she looks at this and says, ‘No no.’ She writes herself a note and then she picks up the phone and then she calls and talks to the pharmacy if she has to.”
While it seems simple, straightening out what Phyllis and other clients are taking daily is incredibly important for their quality of life.
“They’re on the meds for a reason.
They’re correcting a serious problem,” Audrey says.
'Tale of the Good Samaritan is near and dear to my heart'
Correcting a variety of health issues for clients, with great compassion, is what Audrey has been doing for the Society since 2018.
“Sometimes I leave the house and go straight to an appointment,” the nurse of over 20 years says. “Sometimes there’s a reason, maybe a meeting, maybe I have to pick up some lab supplies or some records in the office but then we hit the road.
“I don’t mind driving. It’s time to make the transition from one visit to the next. Get my head square for the next visit because our patients are very different.”
Making a career out of meeting people where they’re at, literally.
“The tale of the Good Samaritan is near and dear to my heart. I just think that that’s an image of compassion,” Audrey says. “I like representing the ideology behind the Good Samaritan.”
National Ever Forward Caregiver Champion
Teammates say she’s living out that mission every day. It’s why Audrey is being recognized as this year’s National Ever Forward Caregiver Champion.
“She’s an excellent nurse and an excellent employee and probably a better human being than she even is a nurse. She’s well-deserving,” Society administrator Chris Gall says.
“She has been the rock for this agency for the past four years.”
“Irreplaceable” is how Chris describes Audrey. Society nursing supervisor Conchita Harmon, an experienced caregiver herself, is proud to call her a friend and coworker.
“Sometimes I look at her and I go, when I grow up I want to be a nurse just like her,” Conchita says, laughing. “And I’m at the end of my career.”
“Audrey’s very compassionate in her care. She goes the extra mile.”
Remember Phyllis? When she heard about Audrey’s award, she was thrilled.
“But she can’t be moved from here,” Phyllis jokes. “That fits just perfectly. You couldn’t have picked a better person.”
Appreciation 'part of what keeps you going'
When the Society’s president and CEO Nate Schema surprised her with the honor, Audrey humbly accepted.
“It means a lot,” Audrey says. “I think we do important work for our patients.
“I kind of feel like I was led, that I was made for this. It took a while. Nursing obviously is very challenging in many different ways. You have to pay attention to a lot of details and a lot of factors in a patient’s life.”
Admitting to only having a handful of nursing years left, Audrey is feeling appreciated by Society leaders, her team and clients.
“It’ll be nice to have gone out saying, ‘OK, remember that one time they seemed to think you were doing a good job,’” Audrey says, grinning.
“It’s a big deal and I really appreciate those folks making a point of showing appreciation. That’s part of what keeps you going.”