Soulcraft is a newer word in English meaning, “something that shapes one’s soul or core being.” Soulcraft is the perfect word to describe Nancy Atimbo’s work as a nurse practitioner at CCA.
“CCA has a soul,” she says. “This organization absolutely cares about everybody—from staff to the members to just everyone. It’s so powerful and meaningful to work in a place where everyone is so mindful of everything they do—what they do, how they do it, where they do it, when they do it.”
Even Nancy’s husband is jealous that she works at CCA. “He wants to work here too. CCA is an example of where everyone should work.”
Nancy herself has worked for CCA for five years now. Born in Kenya, she knows what it means to come from a place where opportunities were rare—and this has informed her work with at-risk populations here in Massachusetts. Nurturing is something that has always been part of her life since she was young, and she is grateful for the opportunity to help the people who most need it. “I want my legacy to be that I made a difference,” she says. “And nurses will always be needed.”
One example of the way the work gives back, she explains, is during the recent COVID-19 crisis, where she volunteered right away when CCA was putting together its field team for the pandemic.
It was important to Nancy that she keep working with members throughout the crisis, and not sit on the sidelines. She knew this would not only help members, but also would be the best way to nurture her own needs during the crisis. “I didn’t want to be inhibited by fear,” she explains. “I knew that the longer I stayed home, the more I might be fearful about returning to the outside world when restrictions were lifted.”
Soulcraft is also the right word for how Nancy approaches her day-to-day work with CCA members—going out of her way to get families the resources they need, even in the most challenging of circumstances. During COVID-19, she helped one member get the critical care she needed from home, including a blood draw, testing, IV fluids, and prescriptions. She used an interpreter line to communicate with the member and her family to fully understand what was happening. All of Nancy’s efforts helped the family avoid a visit to the emergency department during this crisis. The member’s family was grateful for the extra level of nurturing and professional support that Nancy provided.
COVID has encouraged Nancy to be present in each moment with her members, she says. She talks more with families and listens more, is more cautious, and has slowed down to be more mindful. “When I’m with a member, I slow down,” she says. “I’m no longer planning my next visits in my head. I’m focusing 100% of my attention on that member.”
Part of the effect of slowing down has been a chance to appreciate her own life more. “I’m so grateful for the opportunity to work in the field,” Nancy says. “It has taught me so much.”