Meet Olive Toukam, Registered Nurse
By: Well Care, LLC Editor
It's after 5:00 p.m.
Registered Nurse (RN) Olive Toukam has returned home after another day of patient care throughout Raleigh-Durham.
When we first contacted Olive for permission to tell her story, her simple response - "My patients come first; but I'm available after five o'clock."
That's why Olive is so special to her patients, and to the Well Care team. The consummate professional, she agreed to this Q&A session only after her top priorities (her patients) were handled.
The rest is history!
Here is Olive's story.
Hometown: Limbe, Cameroon
Job title: Registered Nurse (RN) Case Manager
Time at Well Care: 2 1/2 years
Q. Why did you embark on a career in Health care?
A. When I was in my twenties, my mother had a hysterectomy. I was by her side at the hospital during the surgery and throughout her recovery. I saw first-hand the amount of compassion the nurses had while caring for my mother; and I knew I had to give back in some way. Those nurses inspired me to launch a career in health care. I began as a Certified Nursing Assistant, and gradually worked my way up through the nursing scope, becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), then earning by BSN and becoming a Registered Nurse (RN). I worked at a retirement community and a hospital setting before moving into home health care.
Q. Why did you transition into Home Health?
A. Home Health is more personalized. I wanted true, one-on-one time with my patients that I couldn't get in the hospital setting.
Q. Why did you decide to join the Well Care team?
A. I heard a lot about Well Care during my time at Duke Regional Hospital. I knew of the top-notch care the company provided to patients; and I wanted to join a home health team that put patient care first.
Q. What do you like most about your job, and why?
A. I get to make a difference in peoples' lives. As a home health nurse, I'm able to help my patients beyond the nursing realm, in a deep, meaningful way. Recently, one of my bedridden patients looked at me sternly and asked, "Do you provide this kind of care to ALL of your patients?" I hesitated to respond, thinking I had done something wrong. The patient simply said, "Other people don't do what you do." There was nothing extraordinary about how I treated this patient. It was a simple, routine visit that I've done countless times; but it meant the world to this patient. And it meant the world to me when she asked, "When are you coming back?" I felt fulfilled.
At Well Care, we treat a variety of patients. We don't turn people away based on their cultural or socio-economic backgrounds; and that's one of the things I love about working here. Last year, a patient hugged me and said that I brought hope back into her home because other home health agencies had turned her away. It was a meaningful interaction that I'll never forget. As a Christian, I believe everyone should be treated with love. I'm grateful to have found a company that values people and patient-centered care as much as I do.
Q. What's the one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
A. Even though patient care is my top priority, I'm a normal person with setbacks and challenges like everyone else. My life doesn't have to be perfect in order to help people.
Q. What's the best advice you've ever been given?
A. My mother always told me to give it my all, and treat every patient like I would treat Jesus.
Q. What's next for you and your career at Well Care?
A. That's a tough one to predict; but I've always been interested in leveraging the communication between patients and their caregivers. I'd like to serve as a liaison of sorts, or a customer relations director, one that teaches caregivers how they can contribute to the patient care experience. Caregivers are an integral part of the process. I'd like to get on their level to achieve positive outcomes for the patient.