I Am WMC: Katie Cushing, certified nursing assistant
By Kristy Bleizeffer May 18, 2021
Katie Cushing was at a turning point when she found her new career. She was turning 40, going through a divorce and wanted a fresh start. She’d always worked in service in some capacity, and she wanted a career that would allow her to care for others.
Her own father spent almost a year in a hospital while fighting leukemia, and Katie remembered the toll it took on her mother: the questions her mother forgot to ask, the confusing medical terms, the long waits in the recliner next to her husband’s bed.
Katie wanted to help people like her parents, and she went back to school to become a certified nursing assistant.
“I think the most important part of my job is taking care of my patients with dignity and pride, making them feel cared about and loved,” said Katie who has worked at Wyoming Medical Center for five years. “I picture my own friends and family in the beds, and I think about how I would want them to be treated. I want to be the advocate for the family who is not there, and I want them to feel important.”
CNAs are the healthcare professionals who often have the most face-to-face contact with patients in the hospital. They answer patient calls, document health issues, assist in feeding and monitor food and fluid intakes. They bathe patients, gather supplies for the nurses and complete any other number of tasks needed to help their unit function as, well, a unit. When Katie sees a family struggling to understand what is happening or confused about the doctors’ instructions, Katie finds them a pen and paper and tells them to take notes. It’s what worked for her mother.
“I think that has helped show me another perspective. I see patients, especially the spouses, go through the same things my mother did. Going through the whirlwind of information, forgetting to ask questions,” Katie said. “Then my mom started taking notes when she talked to the doctors, and it really helped her remember.”
Katie has worked on the Neuro Unit for almost two years. She calls her team a true family. They say that no two brain injuries are alike, and Katie likes when they gather to brainstorm a new approach for a particular patient. “I love the continual learning,” she said.
“On Neuro, we have the opportunity to really love and care about these patients. Brain injuries or illnesses are often life altering events. It is very rewarding to be able to support these patients and families through their illnesses.”
Katie grew up in Hanna, a small town in Carbon County with about 800 people. She loves meeting people who come to Wyoming Medical Center from Encampment, or Kemmerer or other small Wyoming towns she used to travel to for high school sports.
“I like to be a part of Wyoming, and I really get a sense of that community here. I love working at a place that is a staple not just of Casper, but of the entire state.”