“She’d been admitted for chasing family members with a dirty toilet bowl brush…”


This feature is brought to you in partnership with Interim HealthCare
Have you ever thought about leaving the bedside…for the boardroom? In partnership with Interim HealthCare, we’re talking to nurses across the country who have done just that! Here, Tonya Lawrence shares about the rewards of business ownership and the moments from her career that she’ll never forget…including an “only in nursing” story we know you’ll be able to relate to (and laugh at!).

Tonya LawrenceName: Tonya Lawrence 

Franchise location: Albia, Iowa

What type of nurse are you? Home health 

Where did you work before starting your franchise, and for how long? I worked in home health and geri-psych for 10 years.

When and why did you choose to leave bedside nursing and start a franchise? In 2009, I got a call and was offered a position in home health by a former coworker who started her own agency. The position was for a case manager, RN. The hours and flexibility were worth the $7/hour pay cut. I was tired of [working] 12-hour overnight shifts while trying to balance my family life. 

What’s the most rewarding part of your job? It’s the slower pace of home care, the flexibility of scheduling clients and seeing clients in their own home environments. I love being able to get out of the office and go for a drive to see clients. 

What’s the best part of being a business owner? Not having to ask permission for a day off, and if I’m running late, I don’t have to worry about being written up. 

What’s the funniest thing anyone’s ever said to you on the job? When I was a nursing student on my O.B. rotation, I was assessing a new mother to get ready for discharge. I asked if she had a bowel movement yet, and she replied she didn’t. Then I asked if she had passed gas. She looked a bit taken aback and defensively answered, “It wasn’t me!” 

Can you share an “only in nursing!” story from your own career with us? When I worked on the geri-psych unit, we had a little lady who was admitted for chasing her family members around with a dirty toilet bowl brush. She became more agitated and violent once on the unit. She had parked herself in a chair in front of the nurses’ office and blocked everyone by spitting phlegm into her hand and throwing it at us. It went on for 20 minutes until we could get a few plastic garbage sacks from med/surg to cover ourselves to move her out. 

If you could have dinner with any nurse–real or fictional, living or not–who would it be and why? My grandmother, who was an LVN and inspired me to be a nurse. She passed in 2007, and I would love one more dinner with her. 

What’s one moment from your nursing career that you’ll never forget–either inspiring or humorous? I had a client who lived 25 miles in the country on rock roads. He had a suprapubic catheter that would get plugged often. One night at 3 a.m. during the snowiest of snowstorms, he called my home phone yelling and moaning into the phone, crying, “I’m dying, I’m dying. Hurry, I’m dying.” He gave the phone to his wife and she stated she didn’t think he was dying and there was no need for an ambulance, but I needed to come out as soon as possible. She said she didn’t feel comfortable removing the cath. So I hurried out (still in my pajamas), picked up my supplies and headed to change a possible plugged catheter. The roads were 100 percent ice and snow-covered. When I got there, he was sitting quietly in his recliner chair as calm and content as could be with a big grin. He said “What are you doing here honey, you shouldn’t be out in this weather. Come give me a kiss.” It turns out the cath was flowing just fine. The couple just couldn’t get to sleep and just wanted company and reassurance that someone could get to their home in the snowstorm.



Interim HealthCare® provides the flexible assignments you need to fit your life and your priorities. As America’s leading provider of home care, hospice and healthcare staffing, chances are, we have the right assignment to fit your life’s needs as well as the resources and opportunities to help you with your career. To apply online, visit To find out more about becoming a franchisee, visit To like us on Facebook, click here

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