A Daughter’s Calling

Working at mother’s senior care residence delights former ICU nurse.

After 35 years of teaching dance and yoga, Kathy Primm answered what can best be described as a calling. At age 52 and at a time when many are starting to contemplate retirement, Kathy went back to school to become a nurse.

Photo courtesy of Kathy Primm.

Joan Smith & Kathy Primm

Seven years later, Kathy came to understand why “her spirit” pulled her in that direction.

“I needed to take care of my mother,” says Kathy, a registered nurse whose new position as resident care coordinator at Savannah Court of Orange City allows her to care for her mother in a way very few daughters or sons can.

Kathy’s mother, Joan Smith, has been a resident at Savannah Court of Orange City for three years. Kathy used to visit whenever her schedule allowed, but now she not only sees her mother daily, but she’s in charge of any personal care her mother needs.

“My new position is not one I ever expected to have,” Kathy says. “In fact, when it was first offered to me, I said no. But then I went home and thought about it, and the more I thought the more my spirit seemed to tell me, This is where you need to be.

“And that makes sense because not only do I know everybody here but, of course, my mom is here. And I promised my father as he was passing that I would take care of my mother, and this opportunity really allows me to fulfill that promise.”

Prior to arriving at Savannah Court, Kathy spent three years working the night shift in an intensive care unit at a nearby hospital. It was her first job out of nursing school, but it became a burden after her father passed and the job of caring for her mother fell to her.

The decision to move her mother to Savannah Court came shortly after her father passed, and Kathy says it was an easy one to make. Not only is Savannah Court close to Kathy’s home, but also it is a small community where residents are treated like family.

“At Savannah Court, the residents and staff know who everybody is,” Kathy explains. “It really is like one big family. Even the staff members feel like they’re part of the family here, and that’s how they treat each and every resident – like they’re family.”

“The staff is amazing. … They all know exactly what each resident needs and how they like things done.” – Kathy

But Kathy still felt a need to do more for her mother, so she recently left her job at the hospital with that in mind. Shortly after, she was asked about her interest in the resident care coordinator position.

“Everything clicked immediately as soon as I got here, and I love it here,” Kathy enthuses. “I am loving every minute of it. Now, don’t get me wrong. It can get hectic at times. We stay very busy, but it’s nothing like working in an ICU.

“And the staff I manage here is amazing. I can’t help but brag about them because they do such a great job. They all know exactly what each resident needs and how they like things done. Like I said before, they know the residents like they’re part of their family.”

That is especially true of Kathy, who says friends and family members for years predicted her caring nature would result in her moving into nursing and taking on the role of a hospice nurse.

“And then I felt that calling, and now here I am,” she says. “And if it ever comes to it, I’ll be at my mother’s bedside and I’ll be her hospice nurse. But right now, we’re enjoying this time we have together. We know we’re fortunate to have it.”

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