Twenty-five years ago, Linda Coffman became a certified nurse's assistant out of necessity. She was a single parent laid off from a sewing factory, and her mother, who worked at Danville Centre for Health and Rehabilitation, helped her in the door with little experience. Now she is celebrating a quarter of a century in the field.
"When I started to do it, I had a family to raise. I was a single parent," she said. "That just encouraged me to keep going."
But she stayed there for different reasons.
"I love nursing; I like this type of work," Coffman said. You get involved in patients' lives while caring for them, she adds, like you're tending for family. "You get close to them; there's a closeness there."
Coffman and her co-workers tend about 25 residents during second shift, bathing, clothing and seeing to their varying personal needs.
"She cares a lot about the residents. She gives very good care to them," Pat Smith, assistant director of nursing, said. "She's our first defense, knowing all the residents," the eyes and ears of the facility, first to recognize a change in health, Smith explained. The residents, quite simply, "depend on her."