Lu-Ann Brizzie, R.N.: She’s Exactly Where She Should Be
Lu-Ann Brizzie, R.N. gave up a long time ago. For years, she tried to resist and move away from caretaking roles, only to find herself pulled back in that direction. Now, she accepts that this is where she’s supposed to be and can’t imagine herself doing anything else.
Lu-Ann began her career at Noble in 1981 as a housekeeper, a position she enjoyed tremendously and where she developed strong friendships. Time and tide moved on and Lu-Ann found herself in a CNA training program, then further schooling as an LPN. She’s philosophical about her trajectory, “I wanted no part of caretaking but life kept sending me that way.”
She left Noble and worked as an LPN at Dutchess Medical Practice in Amenia. “I did everything there--babies to older people, clinical, and scheduling appointments. It was wonderful all-around training.” Sometimes, she needed to call Noble to confer about a patient. “During those calls, Joanne Lunning, the director of nursing at the time, would ask, ‘When are you coming back to Noble?’” Lunning planted a seed by suggesting that Lu-Ann return to school for a nursing degree. “There’s got to be a seed,” Lu-Ann reflects, “Then a friend wanted to go to nursing school together and I went with it.”
She returned to Noble, pursued her nursing degree, and is grateful for the flexibility and encouragement she received from her colleagues during those years of coursework. “After becoming an RN, I rotated through the units and became a supervisor for five years.” Then she felt that familiar urge to return to caregiving again and accepted a position as a charge nurse in the Whitridge Memory Care area of Noble where she is today.
“I provide care for residents and their family and friends. My job is to maintain a safe environment and promote a calm atmosphere and positive behavior,” she explains. Lu-Ann credits her team members at Whitridge, from the unit manager to the CNAs. “I can’t say enough good things about our team and the aides who do so much here. We’re a small group and we help each other. Without them, this would be hard to do,” she reflects.
Lu-Ann’s care philosophy involves maintaining professionalism, courtesy, and respect with her residents. She observes, “If you’re happy and calm, they are too. They want a hug and a smile. The residents read your face and reflect that back.” She also sees herself as a role model for the aides, providing an example of good care and encouraging them in their own healthcare paths.
Her work requires her to stay in the present. “I handle what’s in front of me and don’t look too far ahead. I’m focused on the task at hand or the person in front of me. I’m in the moment.” This mindful approach makes those in her care the priority while she’s with them--and they feel it.
Lu-Ann clearly enjoys what she does. “If this wasn’t a wonderful place to work, I would have moved on. I don’t know any other place I’d rather be. It’s homey here. I could stay doing what I’m doing for a long time.”
Looking back over her career, Lu-Ann reflects on where she started and where she’s ended up. “Even as a housekeeper, I knew I needed something different. My mom used to say, ‘Lu-Ann you’d make a great nurse.’ Even though I told myself I didn’t want a job in caretaking, life kept sending me that way. When I look back, I’m where I should be.” Yes, Lu-Ann, you are.