Full Circle of Care: Nurse Shares Her Experience From Patient to Longtime Employee
Little did Lianne Albright know that her fifth grade scoliosis screening would open the door to a decades-long relationship with Shriners Children’s New England, first as a patient and then as a dedicated employee.
When the school nurse noticed a curve in Lianne’s spine during a routine scoliosis screening at age 10, Lianne’s parents brought her to Shriners Children's in Springfield for care. They were greeted by their family friend Cindy, an RN at Shriners for over 40 years. Lianne was seen in the outpatient clinic and given exercises to help straighten the curve in her lower spine. Twice yearly visits transitioned to just one visit per year until age 16 as her condition improved.
“Forty years after my initial visit, Shriners Children’s continues to support our community and beyond,” Lianne said. “My parents have mentioned multiple times over the years how they never paid a penny for all of my great care, which was the standard at the time. Now we accept insurance but care continues to be provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay.”
After entering nursing school, Lianne happened to reconnect with Cindy at a birthday party. Cindy encouraged her to come to work at Shriners Children’s, but Lianne took a job at another facility. She soon found herself second-guessing that decision and secured an interview at the Springfield hospital.
“I was hired in the lobby as a certified nursing assistant wearing my standard white dress, tights and shoes,” Lianne remembers. “That was in 1991, less than two years after the new hospital opened, and I’ve never looked back.”
Lianne gained valuable clinical experience during her three-and-a-half years as a nursing assistant. She participated in admissions conferences that introduced the patient, their diagnosis and their family to the doctors and residents overseeing each case. She was invited to attend the very first PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) course offered at the hospital and even observed spinal fusion surgery.
When Lianne decided to further her education in nursing, she was grateful for the opportunity to receive tuition reimbursement from Shriners Children’s. “Shriners paid for my bachelor’s degree, and I will forever be indebted,” she said. “I attended with a few other Shriners nurses and that made it enjoyable.” After passing her board exam, she was immediately hired as an RN.
As Lianne’s family grew, her Shriners family was there to offer support. She was thrilled to accept an 11:00p.m.–7:00a.m. position prior to the birth of her first child to help alleviate daycare concerns. Lianne’s three children were all patients at Shriners Children’s over the years and received the same great care she did, truly bringing the experience full circle for her family.
As she looks back at her 30+-year career at Shriners Children’s, Lianne reflects on the many changes that have enhanced the care provided to patients. Working with many trailblazing doctors, she helped to implement new therapies and see improved outcomes. She has observed tremendous growth in the child life department, outpatient clinic and medical staff.
Most of all, Lianne treasures the relationships built with colleagues, patients and families. “Meeting and caring for children and families from all over the world is a unique experience that I am fortunate to have,” she said.
As we celebrate our 100th anniversary, Shriners Children’s is grateful for the service of longtime employees like Lianne who help us achieve our mission of improving the quality of life for children and their families.
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