“Difference Makers” is a blog series highlighting many of the incredible employees at Catholic Charities NH, each making a positive and unique impact on the individuals, families, and communities that we proudly serve. Today, meet Lauren Castellano, the clinical nurse manager at St. Teresa Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Manchester. Lauren started at St. Teresa six years ago as a licensed practicing nurse (LPN) and worked her way up to clinical nurse manager. She is a dedicated team player, who amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, goes out of her way to make work fun and always puts others first. Let’s learn more about Lauren:
What does your typical day look like?It typically starts at home with my coffee in hand and reading the twenty-four-hour report, which gives me a general idea of what’s happened the night before. It helps me better plan for the day ahead. Once I get to work, I make sure all of the staff are present and ready to go. Then I fill the stand-up form, which lets the different departments know who has (outdoor) visits and tablet calls that day, significant resident updates and anything fun happening in the building. I then head to my morning meeting with the department heads, and we talk about our priorities and provide clinical updates. Every day is different depending on my weekly agenda.
What do you enjoy most about working at St. Teresa?We are like one big family at St. Teresa. I love the residents and their family members, whom I’ve formed relationships with over the years. I’ve worked at other nursing facilities in the past, and they didn’t have the level of true person-centered care that St. Teresa/Catholic Charities NH does. When I first started working here, I realized, “This is what it’s supposed to be like.”
Why is St. Teresa a special place?There is an overcoming feeling of welcome and warmth when you walk into the building. It’s like a second home to me.
How has working at St. Teresa helped with your professional development?I came into St. Teresa as a brand-new nurse and was very nervous. But management gave me the time I needed to grow on my own. From the first day, it was clear they were committed to my career growth and the opportunities to gain valuable experiences. I started as a licensed practical nurse (LPN), then moved on the floor to a charge nurse, which was more of a management role. I got my IV certification, which St. Teresa helped me obtain. From there, I became the wound nurse who looked after resident wounds. Then I was the interim clinical nurse manager until they permanently hired me for the position. It’s been two years now and I love it!
What is most rewarding about your work?When residents come here, it’s scary for them to transition into a long-term care facility. We change that scary feeling into comfort for them. Seeing them happy and helping them in any way we can is rewarding. We aren’t just a long-term care facility; we are their home.
Why do you love helping others?I find joy in seeing other people happy and succeeding in life. I especially love seeing our staff members exceed and fulfill their career goals. And I love to be a part of that, showing them new skills on the job when I can. In return, it helps them take better care of our residents, which is why we do what we do.
What is one of your favorite memories working at St. Teresa?There was a resident who had dementia, and we were having a hard time trying to calm his anxiety. My coworkers and I brainstormed different ways we could help him. He used to be a police officer, so we decided to give him a walkie talkie like he had when he was on the force. I had the other walkie on me and would check in on him throughout the day, and we would both sign off like we were on duty. He loved having the walkie talkie – for a short time.
How has the COVID-19 crisis changed the appreciation you have for working at St. Teresa and the team around you?I’ve always appreciated St. Teresa’s and Catholic Charities. The ways that they’ve supported us through this challenging time has been incredible. We’ve never been low on PPE because of the commitment of the Catholic Charities NH Healthcare Services staff. They’ve communicated more than we could’ve expected. With the CDC’s updates, they’ve kept us in the loop through all the COVID-19 craziness – and that nothing was out of reach if we ever needed anything. We’re incredibly fortunate.
Describe St. Teresa Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in 3 wordsFamily, rewarding, and supportive.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work? What are some of your hobbies?I play the piano and enjoy anything musical. More recently, through quarantine, I’ve been enjoying tumbling rocks, which is when you use a rock tumbler to shine and smooth out rocks. The process takes about a month. I enjoy it because they start as unpleasant looking rocks, rough around the edges. After they finish tumbling, you can see all their colors, lines and details, showing their true beauty.
What do you love about New Hampshire?I like the changing of the four seasons and all the different activities I can do in each season. I love New Hampshire because it’s my home.
What is your favorite motto or quote?I have two favorite quotes:
- First, “There are no problems, only solutions.” – John Lennon.
- This second has become more real because of COVID-19: “Without the dark, we’d never see the stars.” – Stephenie Meyer.