Samantha McKinney says the residents she cares for at the Respiratory Care Center have her wrapped around their fingers, so it was fitting that some of them watched as she wrapped a gold band around hers.
“I just love every one of them more than you will ever know,” she said.
For Samantha, a nursing assistant at Rockcastle Regional, it’s hard to tell where family life ends and work begins, and she likes it that way. The 22-year-old started as a high school co-op student, but she’d visited the hospital for years as a child when her grandmother worked as a nurse.
“Being practically raised in the hospital, it just feels like that’s where I belong,” Samantha says. “I’ve never worked anywhere else and haven’t wanted to.”
Samantha will tell you that relationships with her residents are her favorite part of the job.
When she married Anthony McKinney on June 1, three of the residents even attended her wedding.
She said she couldn’t imagine them not being there, so she made sure it was possible.
“We actually had the wedding at a church in town (Mt. Vernon) so they could come,” she said.
Their appearance made the occasion even more emotional than weddings usually are. Upon seeing Samantha’s resident/guests arrive, “my aunt cried,” Samantha recalled. “It was just so sweet.”
They had a great time at the wedding and at the reception, where they mixed with the wedding parties, family, and friends. And, you know how a compliment is rarely forgotten? One of the residents “told me I look liked a doll,” Samantha said with a smile.
Like she said, wrapped around his finger.
An award-winning program designed to allow residents to leave the facility for the day.
A specially equipped, customized van with an experienced nurse and respiratory therapist. The van, purchased in 2018, is decked out with bluetooth sound and other creature comforts to provide the resident with a smooth, stress-free ride.
The van has floor latches that secure the resident’s wheelchair and give them the opportunity to look out the large windows to enjoy the scenery as they travel. After being in a facility for long periods of time, it is the first opportunity for many residents to be off-campus.
The resident can leave the facility at 9 a.m. and return by 7 p.m. Accommodations can be made for special events outside the time frame.
The destination can be as far as 2 ½ hours away, and the resident can choose where they would like to go. Some go home for the day to visit with family, friends or their pets. Other residents attend concerts, dine out, shop, or go to the movies. Residents have attended proms, graduations, sporting events, festivals, and exhibits.
The trip itself is free. Residents and/or family are responsible for the cost of activities while on the trip.
The nurse and respiratory therapist bring medication and are prepared to address health issues. Residents may decide to return to the facility at any time.
After a destination is chosen, residents contact the activities staff. The trip coordinator submits a request for the physician’s permission. If granted, the outing is placed on the trip calendar.