• Kathleen Burns

Clinician Spotlight: Traves, LPN

We spoke with Traves, the Social Butterfly of connectRN, to learn more about his background, goals for the future, and his top tips for nurses and aides.

Traves has a smile you can spot from miles away and a contagiously positive personality to match. He’s known as the Social Butterfly of connectRN, regularly lifting up others and making new friends to work shifts with. We spoke with Traves to learn more about his background, goals for the future, and his top tips for nurses and aides.

Within seconds of speaking with Traves, it becomes clear how much he values relationships and community. His care for others is apparent in his line of work, how he spends his free time, and the tips he shares with caregivers, both new and experienced.

Like many of his peers, Traves’s career in nursing began with caring for family members as they aged. Taking care of his great-grandparents before they passed away helped him realize his passion for putting smiles on other people’s faces when they needed it most.

Traves started his career as a Certified Nursing Assistant, a role that he credits with helping him develop a deeper level of care and compassion for the residents he works with today. CNA’s are often known as the backbone of the nursing staff. Traves recognizes that his time as a CNA has helped him establish a high level of respect for the aides he works with now as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

Right now Traves is juggling school (he’ll complete his Bachelor of Science in Nursing this summer!), per diem shifts, and a full-time job on a general surgery floor. Despite his crazy full schedule, Traves remains passionate about contributing to patients’ healing process and experience at a facility.

“I want to change the way residents are living at facilities.” Traves mused. “Their rooms aren’t very home-y, so I like to go in and decorate them. I’ll make origami towels for their beds, hang up their pictures, or decorate their windows with little flowers. Around Christmas, I’ll make trees out of gloves. Anything to make their room as comfortable as possible.”

Even with multiple degrees and certifications under his belt, the opportunity to learn something new every day and at each shift is what keeps him going.

“As a nurse, your brain is always running throughout a shift,” Traves said, “You’re guaranteed to face a new situation every day. That’s what keeps me motivated and coming back.”

Traves also feels passionate about using his skills and time to give back to his community outside of work. He dedicates the last Sunday of every month to feeding the homeless in his area, regularly hosts food drives through his full-time job, and even knit hats this winter to bring to the children’s wing of his hospital. But possibly the most interesting fact about Traves is his love for gymnastics. Every summer, Traves spends his free time taking trapeze classes in New York.

“I love swinging from the bars, doing flips and tricks way high up,” Traves laughs, “It makes me feel like I’m in the circus!”

Over the course of his six years in nursing, Traves has accumulated some helpful tips for nurses and aides. Here are his top three:

1. Establish trust first thing when you meet a new patient or resident.

Introduce yourself and chat a bit at first to get to know them. Ask about their story and their background. Many long-term care residents have had beautiful lives with fascinating experiences that you can learn from. And remember, you may be the only person they get to talk to that day, so engage with them and listen to what they have to say.

2. Take every shift one resident at a time.

This is especially true to remember when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Prioritize the tasks that need to be done and the residents that need attention, but don’t linger on one for too long. Complete your task and move onto the next. Most importantly, smile and stay positive — that’s the best way to get through the tougher days.

3. Remember residents can hear what you’re saying, even if they can’t respond.

Speak to residents with respect and care. Even if they are not able to engage with you, talk to them, smile, and explain the medications you have to give them or how you’re there to help. Most importantly, treat each resident as if they were one of your own family members.

We are so proud to have nurses and aides like Traves as a part of our connectRN community!

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