nurse services offered
“So many people are confused when we talk about visiting nurse services,” commented Shawn Severson, RN, VNS Clinical Coordinator for both St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley hospitals. “They think we are a homemaking or CNA service, we’re not; we are a skilled service.”
In order to qualify for visiting nurse services (VNS) the patient needs to be homebound and under the care of the physician. VNS patients are seen for a variety of reason; medication problems and/or changes, wound care, diet and nutrition instruction, disease management, injections, lab work, symptom management just to name a few. Generally it is short term; once or twice a week for three to four weeks.
“Our goals are specific to each patient’s needs,” said Severson. “But our basic over-all goals are to get the patient back to baseline with no admissions back to the hospital. Our VNS program allows patients to remain comfortable and independent. Both patient and family members become active partners in the care, reducing stress and allowing patients to heal more quickly and less expensively than with other forms of care.”
“Assessing and caring for someone in their own home has its challenges, sometimes just finding their house is the challenge,” commented Severson. “But I found it’s about the only way to see the whole person. When I worked on the hospital floor we’d sometime wonder why someone would return to the hospital over and over again, but once I started visiting patients in their homes I realized there’s so much we just don’t see when the patient is in a controlled environment such as the hospital. I truly enjoy the hands-on patient care that being a VNS nurses allows.”
Severson received her nursing degree from Lewis-Clark State College in 1994. She has been working for St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospital since 1994; she began her career as a floor nurse and has been a Home Health or Visiting nurse since 1996.
“I started my nursing degree at UNC in Greeley, when we moved from Colorado I was accepted into the nursing program at LCSC,” commented Severson. “I worked at St. Joe’s while going to LCSC and had a job offer there when I graduated, but I really wanted to be closer to home and family. By then driving to Lewiston from Craigmont had gotten old and SMH seemed like a good fit for my professional and personal life and continues to be so.”
For the most part Severson works out of the Kamiah office, but sees patients all over the area including; Cottonwood, Craigmont, Nezperce, , Kooskia, Pierce-Weippe, Orofino, Winchester.
Shawn and her husband Jim have lived in Craigmont since 1989, they moved there from the Greeley, Colorado area. They have three children, oldest son, Andy, lives in Pullman and manages Stax in Moscow. Hannah their second oldest graduated from Gonzaga University; her and her husband live in Spokane and their youngest, Leah is a dietitian and lives in Moscow with her husband.
When not traveling the country side visiting patients Shawn keeps busy working in her garden and yard. Both her and her husband, Jim are very active in the Cross Point Alliance Church in Lewiston and she is also an avid reader.