Angela King is a nurse whose clientele predominately includes pediatric patients with severe disabilities in a home setting. A 27-year veteran in the healthcare profession, King discusses her career and life in this Q&A below.
How did you get into your line of work?
I have always had a passion to care for people. When I was in high school, I would spend many lunch breaks visiting the pediatric unit of our local hospital. I would read to the kids and try to cheer them up. I went to school while starting my family and graduated nursing school while pregnant with my second son in 1995. I have worked many fields of nursing over my 27 years but found my passion yet again with caring for children – specifically those with disabilities, life-altering diagnoses and some terminal. My goal is to give each patient the best life they can live no matter how short or difficult it may be. In private duty nursing, you have to fill many positions for that patient but the most important role is being your patient’s healthcare advocate. Private duty nursing is one on one care in the home setting. You have to monitor pts closely for any changes and know when you need to call a doctor to update and take orders for your patient.
From your experience, how did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your professional routine?
COVID-19 made nursing that much harder across the board. Not only do you have to be cautious with yourself, but also careful not to bring anything to your patients. We still screen ourselves and everyone who comes into the home to be sure they are not ill. Masks are still REQUIRED to work in the PTS home. When the world shut down, nursing duties did not. We show up and, with precautions, continue to provide care. You are not only caring for that patient but also the family. Before the pandemic, the PTS parents would occasionally take us to go shopping or visit a zoo. Now we do not venture out of the home unless it is absolutely necessary like a doctor’s appointment. It’s straight there and straight back inside to his room.
Is compassion fatigue and burnout ever an issue in your profession, and if so, what do you do to combat it?
Compassion fatigue and burnout are a big problem in nursing. I personally work 55+ hours a week and find that I battle this often. You have to balance your work life with your personal life and need a strong significant other to help you unwind. There are days I feel empty and simply having my husband rub my back helps fill the tank back up but mostly.... I run. I literally go for a run straight from work at least three days a week and run longer distances on the weekends. I run distances from five km (three miles) to half-marathons (13.1 miles) while I run I think of my patient who cannot move ANY part of his body and I RUN FOR HIM. While I run, I pray and let all the stress go away.
What are some of your proudest achievements?
My sons are some of my proudest achievements. Being a young mother, I sacrificed much to be sure I raised good, strong men. They both are successful in life and have great careers. I have grand dogs only at this point, but that's okay because I do not feel old enough to be a grandma yet.
Are you a native Texan? (Where from?)
Yes I am a proud native Texan. Born and raised in Paris, Texas.
What are your favorite local restaurants?
Some of my local favorite places to eat Savory Kitchen (best brisket mac n’ cheese around), Fuzzy’s Tacos, Wing Daddy's (best chicken and waffles) and Margarita Hut obviously for the drinks.
What are some of your go-to comfort movies and TV shows?
My go-to comfort shows are 911, NCIS LA, Chicago Fire, Yellowstone and This Is Us.
What does a typical day for you look like?
A typical day for me starts at 4:30 a.m. to fit in a quick workout. My husband humors me and gets up to work out as well. We then get showered and ready for work. We fix our lunches together and leave for work at the same time. My shift starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. I spend the entirety of my day doing therapies, giving medications and breathing treatments, entertaining my patient with toys, books, bubbles and cartoons. When I get off at 6 p.m., depending on the weather, I go for a quick run then home to cook dinner. In the evenings to unwind, we play video games and watch some TV. Then it’s off to bed by 9:30 p.m. to rest before we do it all over again.
Tell our readers about your family.
I am married to a wonderful supportive man who entertains and tolerates me. His name is Jon. We have been together 11 years and married for almost six of those years. Together we have three children. I have two sons and one bonus daughter. All range between ages 25 and 29.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I want my legacy to be that I gave my patients good care, comfort and good memories. I want my kids to see my example of love, kindness and caring for others.