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Behind the Scenes with Visiting Nurse Freida Gathingo, RN

Freida Gathingo, RN, firmly believes there’s no place like home for people to heal and nurses to grow both professionally and personally.

With more than two decades of nursing experience in a variety of settings, Freida (pictured) joined VNA Care two years ago and is among the clinicians recognized in the Thanks for Caring Society. She finds that her patients gain “so much comfort and peace of mind being able to receive health care in their own home.” 

Consistent education combined with one-on-one care and support over a period of time are a valuable combination in helping individuals reach their optimal health at home. Freida’s patients have included people with diabetes whose blood sugar levels are dangerously high.

“As a visiting nurse, you provide education about diabetes and diet, how to properly take medications, and more. By discharge, you see the blood sugars are better controlled and the patient is much more comfortable managing their disease. That’s huge,” said Freida.

This approach to care is equally impactful for the many other diagnoses Freida and her colleagues treat in the home setting — from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to wounds — and brings deep satisfaction for nurses and other clinicians seeing such progress in just weeks or months.

Freida never knows what she may be faced with when walking into a patient’s home for the first time. She said, “Even though I go into these homes by myself, I never feel that I’m alone. If I have a question, my clinical manager, wound care and other specialists, and colleagues are just a call away.”

Some patients live in challenging situations, facing food insecurity and other economic and social challenges. Freida and the social worker on her team “connect patients and families to resources that are available in the community to help them be able to live better. We try to get those issues resolved one way or another.”

Freida particularly enjoys visiting elderly patients. “They have so much to share,” she said. “As a nurse, you leave feeling you’ve made a difference but you also take that connection with you.”

Freida shared that her time as a visiting nurse “has really helped me grow as a nurse, as an individual, as a mother, and as a daughter.”

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