PHOTO: Dawn Koppes has been with Above & Beyond since 2011. She’s worked as a nurse for both Hospice and Home Health. (Photos submitted)
PHOTO: The nursing staff at Above & Beyond celebrates National Nurses Week, May 6-12. They care for patients on hospice as well as visit patients in their home as part of the home health service.
By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
Dawn Koppes of Monticello takes pride in her job. She’s a nurse with Above & Beyond Home Health. Koppes actually started working for Above & Beyond in 2011, with the hospice service. Last summer, she moved over to home health because she said they needed some additional nurses.
May 6-12 is National Nurses Week. Above & Beyond nurses are seen throughout the community and surrounding areas, serving patients in many fashions.
According to ANA (the American Nurses Association), there are 3.1 million RNs in the U.S. Since 1980, the U.S. nursing workforce has steadily increased year after year. In 1980, there were 1,662,382 licensed RNs. In 2008, there were 3,063,163.
The average age of an RN is 45 years old. The percentage of male RNs is at about 17 percent.
Koppes said ever since she was a little girl, she knew she wanted to be a nurse.
“I always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said. The nursing profession is in her family. Koppes’ sister, sister-in-law and cousin are all nurses.
“It’s part of my personality,” she said. “People just feel comfortable talking with me.”
Koppes graduated from Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) in 2010 with her nursing degree. After graduation, she started working at Mercy in Cedar Rapids in orthopedics.
“There’s a big difference between hospitals and home health,” noted Koppes, having worked in both settings. “Hospitals are fast-paced. With home health, I’ve gotten the chance to get to know my patients.”
Prior to pursuing her nursing degree, Koppes did daycare out of her home for 12 years.
“Nursing just fits my family life better,” she said.
Koppes praised Above & Beyond for their willingness to work with her family schedule.
She said she’s always wanted to work at Above & Beyond. She recalled watching the Fourth of July parade here in Monticello one year, and as Becky Cooper walked past her handing out company bags, Koppes told her, “I’m going to work for you one day!
“It’s very family-friendly here,” she said of Above & Beyond. “I can balance my family time.”
Working with home health, Koppes said their job is to help the elderly stay in their home as long as possible. She said they work at managing their medications so their patients know when to take what pills. If she works with a surgical patient, Koppes said she relays information to the doctor concerning how the patient is progressing post-surgery.
“We assess their progress and see how they’re doing. We act as a liaison between the patient and the doctor.”
She said there is a lot of communication with doctors from time to time.
“We try to catch something before they have to go to the hospital.”
On the hospice side of things, Koppes said it’s caring for terminally ill patients, comforting them while at home.
To her, Koppes said nursing is “an important continuum of care.
“You’re able to work on a personal level with patients in their own environment,” she said of home health. “This allows them to be more comfortable.”
Koppes sees about 20-25 patients a week, many multiple times a week. She spends most of her time in Delaware County, seeing patients in Coggon, Ryan, Manchester, Delhi and Hopkinton.
“They’re all part of my extended family,” she said of her close relationship with her patients.