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, Dawn Baker shares about her transition from police work into business ownership, touching patients’ lives and her funniest “only in nursing story” that you’ll definitely sympathize with!
Name: Dawn Baker
Franchise location: Charleston and Columbia, SC
What type of nurse are you? A registered nurse, but whatever type they need me to be. As an owner and a nurse I wear many hats and have learned to roll with the punches. Home care is 24 hours a day and when our patients need help, no matter what time it is, we are here to provide the service.
Where did you work before starting your franchise and for how long? I was police officer for the city of Charleston for approximately 10 years before becoming a nurse. I worked in the narcotics division for most of my time there. That is where I met my best friend and business partner, Paula Tharp. It is hard to believe we used to work undercover buying illegal drugs to catch drug dealers and now I go out and administer LEGAL drugs to our community of patients!
When and why did you choose to leave bedside nursing and start a franchise? That’s the funny thing. I left police work to go to nursing school in hopes to have a better work schedule for my family. I thought I would end up working in one of the big hospitals in Charleston. As fate would have it, after graduation I was asked to help care for a friend’s mother who had multiple sclerosis and was on a ventilator. I went to the family’s home and that was it; I was hooked on home care. They had used Interim in the past and the patient’s family said the owners were looking to sell their franchise and the story began. Now we cover 13 counties in the capital and costal South Carolina. It is a privilege to serve my community…the service industry is in my blood.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? The most rewarding part of my job is that most of the time it is not a job. I truly love and enjoy what we do and love to see out patients getting to stay in their homes safely for as long as they can. I love to see how our caregivers and nurses touch our patients’ lives. I say what we do is medical “E-harmony.” We can get any nurse or caregiver with good skills; it is getting the right personalities that complement and add value to our patients’ lives. It is an honor to be trusted and welcomed into a patient’s home.
What’s the best part of being a business owner? That as a business owner I have the ability to control our destiny and take home care nursing to a new level. I have the opportunity to expand into other territories and to expand into home health and eventually hospice to add even more benefit to our patients.
What’s the funniest thing anyone’s ever said to you on the job? I had a nurse call me and tell me she would not return to a patient’s home because their cat gave her the “evil eye.” Not kidding…
Can you share an “only in nursing!” story from your own career with us? One day I was making a nursing visit to a new mother and baby and we were joking about how baby boys can occasionally pee on you when changing diapers. I was telling her I never really thought it would happen, but one day my son got me. As I was getting ready to weigh her baby, I took off his diaper and YES….he got me! The mom and I had a good laugh.
If you could have dinner with any nurse–real or fictional, living or not–who would it be and why? I have to pick two, my grandmothers, Betty Shaneyfelt and Bessie Stump. They were both nurses and are the reason when I made a switch from law enforcement to nursing. Betty is “old school;” I remember as a child my grandfather driving her to work in her starched white dress and how much she loved taking care of her patients. She would talk about the trials and tribulations of nursing, but she genuinely loved what she did and always went the extra mile for her patients. They both inspire me to be a better nurse, mother and person.
What’s one moment from your nursing career that you’ll never forget–either inspiring or humorous? The day a previous patient called my cell phone and said she needed help. She sounded desperate and so I immediately drove to her home and found a very depressed woman. Her house was in “dire straits” and I immediately called Paula, my business partner, and said, “Get some cleaning stuff, I need you to come help me.” We spent several hours getting her house into some semblance of clean. We got her back on home care services and during the process, we had found that an acquaintance of hers had taken advantage of her financially and emotionally. We got her with the right resources to handle the fraud. She is still a client to this day. She is independent in her home and I thank God that she somehow had put my cell phone number in her phone and had the thought to call me. This reminds me how we genuinely touch patients’ lives and make a difference.
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 www.careersbyweb.com. To find out more about becoming a franchisee, visit www.interimfranchising.com. To like us on Facebook, click here.