When Kristie O’Connell was about six years old, she met a very special nurse who changed her life forever. “After my cousin was born medically fragile,” Kristie recalls, “a PSA Healthcare nurse started coming to our home every day. We had a nurse in our home for the next 13 years. That nurse meant so much to my family and had a huge impact on me. I decided then that I wanted to become a home care nurse when I grew up.”
Kristie never gave up on her childhood dream. At 16 years old, she became a Home Health Aide. She graduated from nursing school in 2009 and started working in a facility for the elderly in 2013. Through it all, home care nursing remained her ambition. Finally, in 2014, Kristie fulfilled her goal when she joined PSA Healthcare, which later became Aveanna.
Home care nursing proved to be everything Kristie had hoped for. “There is so much I love about being a home care nurse,” Kristie shares. “The flexibility of scheduling was a life-saver for me when I had young kids. I loved seeing the outcomes of the interventions I put in place for my patients. But most of all, I loved forming bonds with my patients and their families.”
Kristie connects with her patients just like the nurse she knew as a child had done with her family. Her most recent patient, Brooklyn, is especially close to her heart. “I built a strong bond with Brooklyn and her parents, Shannon and Andrew," Kristie relates. "I’m so grateful to them for letting me provide the best care possible for their daughter and treating me like family while maintaining boundaries."
When Brooklyn’s family moved, Kristie took the opportunity to reevaluate her career. “While I still loved being a field nurse, I knew it was time to take my next step,” Kristie says. “And I knew I could take that next step with Aveanna.” Kristie became an Aveanna Clinical Supervisor in February of this year. It was a big transition, but Kristie had some important team members who helped make it a smooth one as well.
“I am so grateful for my fellow clinical supervisors,” Kristie shares. “Mary trained me and helped me with my transition, and Sara gave me the confidence, support, and motivation to make the switch when I was losing my patient of over two years. I feel so lucky to be on the same team as these two incredible women.”
As a CS, Kristie supervises and supports her fellow home care nurses. In this role, she is able to stay connected to her childhood dreams and to the patients who are so close to her heart. “I have been with PSA and Aveanna for six years now, and I’m confident I can continue to grow within this company,” Kristie states. “There’s always opportunity here.”