By: Leslie Mantrone
Simoy Lewin is COHME’s Director of Patient Services/Nurse Manager. In this dual capacity, she is responsible for the care of COHME’s clients. She oversees a staff of three nurses and more than 80 aides.
What inspired you to become a nurse?
Growing up, I was surrounded by some great professionals in my family who served as role models. Their professions ranged from education to finances to medicine. I wanted to do everything! I’ve always had a caring nature and was the one to run to take care of anyone who got a bruise and who wanted to visit any family member who was sick. The older I got, the more I leaned toward medicine. I was curious about the body, how it functions, and how to fix it if something goes wrong. Initially, I was focused on
pursuing medical school, but after having a conversation with a friend at the time, nursing seemed like the logical direction for me. I started nursing, never looked back and I’m still happy I chose this direction. Or maybe it chose me!
Have you always worked with older adults? What do you enjoy about working with this population?
I’ve worked with a combination of young adults and older adults. Mostly, however, with older adults. One thing I like about this population is that they’re full of experiences, whether good or bad. Though my goal is to help improve their quality of life, I've always found that when I meet them, older adults ‘pour’ into me. I’ve learned a lot over the years from the clients I’ve cared for.
Can you describe a time when you felt you really made the difference in the life of an older adult?
One time when I visited an elderly client for the first time, I observed spoiled food in the refrigerator, clutter and an overall hazardous environment for the client’s health and safety. The person lived alone and had no immediate family except a distant relative. I cleaned the refrigerator, threw out all the spoiled foods, and asked her what she likes to eat. There was a grocery store not far from where she lived, and I helped her order food, since she didn’t want to go out on that day. I then helped her to clean some of the clutter so she could navigate more safely, minimizing risk of falls. I set up a regular visiting schedule not only to help build a trusting relationship but to also monitor her clinically.
I requested social work involvement immediately, and they helped with money management. The client was also behind in bills – not because of lack of money, but due to age-related cognitive decline. Eventually we got her set up with regular doctor visits and helped her connect with her distant family member, who she eventually named as her Power of Attorney. Being part of a team effort that successfully assisted this vulnerable elder to acquire necessities and improve her quality of life is a particularly rewarding memory.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
I enjoy sleeping, eating, occasionally meeting with friends and outdoor adventures when possible.