Pam Billingsley was a short-order cook for eight years before discovering her true calling. “My mom and I worked at a restaurant together when she got sick,” Billingsley tells. “She had to have surgery on her stomach, and afterwards, the site had to be bandaged and monitored, so I took care of her. She told me that I was in the wrong field and that I needed to be in nursing. She said my calling was taking care of people. I’ve been loving it ever since!” Five years into her hospice career, Billingsley thinks that her passion for her profession is what makes all the difference. She explains, “There is no middle ground on being an aide; you have to love what you do. And it shows! I think the key to making an impression is a smile on your face and knowing you love what you do.”
“I love getting to meet new people and giving them the best care I can possibly provide.”
1. What does your day-to-day look like as a CNA?
I always greet every patient with a smile – that’s my number one. So much is happening in their body, and they sometimes don’t completely understand, so a smile helps ease their anxiety. I then listen to my patients and try to meet their needs. They like the kind words and knowing someone is there to walk with them through their journey.
2. What is one of your happiest professional moments?
One patient told me that she loves peanuts, and I surprised her with a whole display of them along with some chocolate candy. Her face just lit up! I wanted her to know someone was thinking of her.
3. What is your best advice for patients?
My best advice is to live day to day and try not to let things worry you. Enjoy your life, and don’t focus on your illness.
4. What would you consider to be your main strengths?
Helping people and dealing with every patient as an individual. They each have specific preferences, and I try to pay attention to that.
5. What is your philosophy when it comes to the care for your patients?
The patient always has rights, and you want to respect that. Listen to what they have to say and never rush them – let them take their time and feel comfortable. They have to build that trust with you.
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