From Pre-Nursing Student to Top RN: How My Experience at ACR Homes Paved the Way - ACR Homes Skip to content

From Pre-Nursing Student to Top RN: How My Experience at ACR Homes Paved the Way

direct care professional that's a pre-nursing student outside with an ACR Homes resident who receives patient care

Part 1 of ACR's "Share Your Story" Campaign Written by: Lucy Brandt - Registered Nurse at ACR Homes

I started working for ACR in the summer of 2014. Like many other students, I applied so I could put it on my resume. Here I am NINE years later telling you: ACR became so much more than a line on my resume. It became the reason I reached my career goals, it made me so much more confident than your average new nurse at their first job, and it gave me something to fall back on when the unexpected happened.

ACR is the reason I was hired at my first nursing job at the hospital. When I graduated, there was no nursing shortage. It was HARD to get a job as a new nurse. I interviewed for a position on the neurology unit and was told by the manager that I had more experience than a lot of the nurses that already work there. I was hired on the spot! ACR allowed me to become comfortable with working with people who have seizure disorders, gastric tube medication administration, tube feeding, tracheostomy tubes, respiratory treatments, documentation, and time management. There is so much to learn as a new nurse and any time you are able to say "Yep, I already know how to do that" it puts you ahead of the game.

g tube med pass

ACR is the reason I excelled at my new nursing job. I was working on a neurology unit with seizure patients who were developmentally delayed, and with stroke patients who were unable to communicate verbally. Working with the developmentally delayed population is difficult at first, and it can take some time to feel comfortable. Family members of my patients were always saying "She likes you!"  "She hasn't smiled at anyone except you!" "You are the only nurse who can get her to take her meds!" As a new nurse I was THE nurse for these patients and that felt awesome. All of my ACR residents were nonverbal, so I learned a lot about nonverbal communication. I was (and still am) very successful at figuring out what my patients want, even when they can't speak or write. We had one patient on my unit for an extended period of time, and if her nurse didn't know what she wanted, she would mouth my name, and I would come to the rescue!

ACR is the reason I could afford my rent when the nurses at my hospital went on an open ended strike. Six months into my nursing career, we went on a strike with no end date. You don't get paid when you are on strike, not during and not after.  Thankfully, after I got hired at the hospital, I made the decision to stay at ACR as a casual employee, only working a few shifts per month. At that point I had grown attached to my residents and coworkers and I didn't want to give that up. I worked as much as I wanted to at ACR during that time, while my hospital coworkers struggled.

I often look back and think about how this one decision affected my life in so many ways. This “college job that I only planned to have for one year as a resume booster” became so much more than that. It makes me realize how important it is to accept the opportunities that come your way, because you never know how it will turn out. ACR is the reason I got the career I wanted and the reason I excelled at many aspects of it. Working at ACR is truly one of the best decisions I have ever made.