Robyn Henry, LNA

17 years and counting with the Edgewood Centre

After working in an administrative position at a Seacoast power plant for seven years, I was laid off. I was in the middle of a divorce and the timing was horrible. I searched high and low and soon found a position at a county courthouse. Just as things seemed to be coming together, the courthouse had their first ever layoff at the administrative level and I once again found myself unemployed. Within one year’s time, my life had taken a major turn for the worst– here I was a recently divorced single mother who had been laid off not once, but twice in one year’s time, and was about to file for bankruptcy. I was devastated. I was also tired of being so easily replaced. Something had to change.

My best friend who was an RN at the Edgewood Centre at the time mentioned their LNA program and encouraged me to look into it. I grew up in Portsmouth and I remember visiting my grandfather at Edgewood as a child. I always loved the elderly. As I got to thinking, I realized that someone in this setting whose job is so hands on, wouldn’t be as easily replaced as I was with my two past employers. Up until that moment, a career in healthcare never crossed my mind. The idea of not having to go through yet another layoff was enough motivation. That’s when I decided to reach out to Edgewood and inquire about their LNA program.

The pieces started to fall into place – I became an LNA

I started in the on-site LNA program and once licensed, I worked as an LNA at Edgewood for about a year up until a position popped up that caught my eye. It was a nursing administration position as the nursing department’s scheduler. I applied for it and got it right away. Things were finally starting to look up for me!

I decided to keep my LNA license so I could continue to help other LNAs on the floor and pursued my MNA (medication nursing assistant) license so I could work on the medication cart when needed.

Fast forward to today – I’ve been a nursing department scheduler for about 16 years! This role keeps me extremely busy and it can be challenging – that’s what I love about it. I also love that what I do makes peoples’ lives better.

The perks of Edgewood

In looking back, I now realize that being let go was a blessing in disguise because had that not happened, I would not have found Edgewood and the many perks associated with working here.

On-site Childcare Program – We have an on-site Childcare Program and I have used it four times! Altogether, I had a child in the program here for 15 years. Can you believe it? I think I hold the longest record. Having my children on-site made everything so much better, and easier. I was able to nurse and visit my babies whenever I wanted. You really can’t beat that.

Flexibility like no other – At Edgewood, there’s so much scheduling flexibility. Employees can work around their personal, religious or childcare commitments, for example, and shift their schedules as needed. This flexibility works perfectly for me in the summer as I am able to work an entirely different shift so I can be with my children more while they are out of school.

Bonding with residents – I have so much fun with our residents who have such big personalities. They are also really funny. Many of them are looking for a connection and I feel so special to be able to bond with them. It’s also nice to hear about our residents’ lives before Edgewood was their home and about their childhoods.

The residents end up becoming your friends, even your family. There’s always that one that seems to stand out. For me, it’s Annie – my first bond. Annie always wore a dress; I remember her clearly in her light blue plaid dress with a bandanna on her head. She was so special to me, and the day she told me I was her best friend I knew she felt the same. Annie and I would always laugh together – she had such a playful spirit! As time passed and she could no longer walk as well or go to the senior center, she’d come sit in my office and we’d talk about what crazy names I could name my newest baby.

Every time I walk into, or past the room where Annie lived, I think of her and her light blue dress.

And bonding with coworkers – I have so many wonderful coworkers. But the DON – Miriam Pelletier is one of the most amazing people, and coworker I have ever met. She has helped me grow more than anyone I have ever known. Her compassion for others and her ability to make someone feel good is so genuine. Edgewood is that much better because of her.

A Bonus – I work with my daughter – I love working with my daughter (Symonne) who first volunteered here, then worked as a staff assistant and then as an LNA. She went off to college and majored in computer science before realizing that her true passion was healthcare. She is now a month away from becoming an RN. I believe growing up in this atmosphere had a huge impact on her.

It’s hard to express in words how I truly feel about Edgewood. I feel bonded to Edgewood, it’s residents and to my coworker – it’s my second family and a place that’s so unique.

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