In the late 1980s, there was a TV show called “China Beach” that featured an Army nurse in Vietnam. It was this show that gave a young Kim Bailey the inspiration to become a nurse—though she didn’t realize her dream until much later in life. “I waited to go back to school until my son was in college,” Kim, a licensed practical nurse at CCA, says. “I had worked as a pharmacy technician for most of my career, but I always wanted to be more hands-on with patients and make a lasting impact.”
“Nursing is about healing. I believe that nurses are the cheerleaders of health and wellness.”
When Kim started at CCA, it was her first experience with home care. She was able to sharpen her skills and learn from her teammates, as well as from her members. Kim once had a member with atrial fibrillation, an irregular and rapid heartbeat. Kim helped him schedule an appointment with his cardiologist and arranged transportation. However, when the time came, the member refused to go.
“I did get upset because I wanted the best outcome for him, but he made me realize that it was his choice,” Kim says. “I understood then that ‘dignity of risk’ is a basic right of all our members. A big part of my job is to teach, coach, and encourage—but that day I also learned to listen.”
Another member Kim worked with had been homeless for decades and struggled with substance use disorders, as well as diabetes and cardiac issues. The member had recently lost his sister, who had been his major support person and caregiver. Kim saw the member monthly for two years to help him with his medications.
With Kim’s support, the member stopped using drugs and alcohol and found housing. He also lost weight and gained control over his diabetes. “Kim didn’t do any of the work for him—she gave him the encouragement, guidance, and tools he needed to make these lasting changes himself,” says Catherine Chambers, an advanced practice clinician at CCA Primary Care. “She helped him to first imagine—and then actually pursue a different life.”
For Kim, one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is the ability to forge relationships with her members.
“I always tell them that I need to break things down into simple terms so that I can understand and explain, but then they tell me it is the first time that they have understood too,” she says. “It can become a discovery process for both of us and it helps our members to invest in their own health and wellness.”
Kim is always happy to see her members make informed decisions based on what they have learned about their conditions. “I am pleased that they trust me to steer them in the right direction but more importantly, I am thrilled to have empowered them to decide what is best for them,” she says.
Kim has been a member of the CCA COVID-19 Field Response team since the beginning. Initially, there was a lot of fear and anxiety from members and staff. Now, everyone involved has adjusted to the “new normal” of wearing a mask and other personal protective equipment.
“Since our members are especially isolated, it is important for me to tell them that the PPE protects us both,” Kim says. “They can trust that I will protect them, and I am welcomed into their homes.”