A broken foot can leave a person walking down a different career path.
At least, it did for Alexandra Lyle.
She didn’t considering working at a senior living community as she finished nursing school, but her injury prevented her from taking an acute care position. So, she started doing short-term occupational work, which included a flu shot clinic at Aegis Lodge in Kirkland.
“I walked into it having absolutely no expectations at all, but I was really amazed by the care that the caregivers were providing for the residents,” she said.
In particular, she was struck by the way those in memory care were treated.
“Of course that’s always kind of difficult,” she said. “Explaining to someone with dementia why I’m going to put a needle in your arm, but the caregivers were incredible.”
As she finished up her recovery, she again began searching for a full-time job, but this time, Aegis was on her radar.
Now the health services director at Aegis of Queen Anne at Rodgers Park, Lyle has been recognized as one of the best in her field, named the Assisted Living Nurse of the Year 2017 by the Washington Health Care Association. Lyle was chosen from a group of approximately 100 other nominees from assisted living companies across Washington.
“To be recognized like this, it just kind of blows me away,” she said. “It leaves me speechless that there’s recognition for what’s a really important role, not just for myself but for my nursing team, and the talented clinicians I work with.”
Aegis President Judy Meleliat called Lyle an innovative nurse that contributes ideas to serve residents across the company’s communities.
“When it comes to heart, those who know Alex, know that she exemplifies Aegis Living’s professional nursing practice model,” Meleliat said in a statement. “She facilitates family-centered care as she embraces challenges and change with innovation. She consistently exemplifies the guiding principles of excellence by using her voice to speak for those who are unable to speak for themselves.”
Aegis Living Vice President of Nursing and Care Kathy Stewart called the honor “well-deserved.”
“She is outstanding in how she uses her clinical leadership skills to contribute to the broader community,” she said. “She knows how to facilitate family-centered care and embraces challenges and change with innovative strategies.”
For Lyle, nursing is a “natural use” of her predisposition to take care of others.
“Nursing is a professional way to express the love and compassion that you have for your fellow man,” she said. “ … There’s no higher calling than the service of others.”
Lyle said the most rewarding part of her job is hearing the stories from residents, learning about their lives from the time they move in, until they either move out or pass away. That’s a far cry from hospital work, where nurses will care for a patient for a shift or two before they’re discharged.
“You get to become part of their story and have an affect on the journey that they’re taking, and it’s always a really wonderful feeling to be able to be that positive impact on someone’s life, and to be able to see it in front of you and see it around you every day, it’s incredibly rewarding,” she said.
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