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VNA nurse shares experience working with patients at home

VNA nurse considered part of the family
VNA nurse Rebecca Shanks
Posted at 9:48 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-07 13:38:00-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For most, nurses are some of the first faces patients meet when stepping foot into a hospital.

But for some patients, nurses may be the first face to greet them at their front door, like RN Rebecca Shanks.

Shanks has been a nurse for 22 years.

"My mother was a nurse so I actually followed in my mother's footsteps," Shanks said.

For the past 15 years, she's been with Visiting Nurse Association Kansas City, a home health service and the oldest home health agency in Kansas City.

Three times a week, she pays a visit to her patient, Marty Smoler.

"It's been a very good relationship," Smoler said. "She's helped us a lot."

Smoler and his wife, Suzanne, have been married for 30 years. He said Shanks has been a huge help.

"I don't think people recognize the demands that are placed on a spouse when you go through something like this," Smoler said. "When it's difficult to move around, difficult to get things done, which means Suzanne has to do all of the things she does, plus all these things I used to help with, plus things I can't do now."

Smoler said to have some relief for his wife is valuable.

"I can't imagine not anybody having visiting nurses coming to help them and not feeling really really good about it," he said.

While being a nurse has its challenges, Shanks said there are many rewarding parts of the job.

"The benefits of home health, is you do become part of their family," Shanks said. "It's just a real rewarding experience working in the home."

She said patients like Marty make the job worth it.

"I really just enjoy seeing the satisfaction of people getting better," Shanks said.

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