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Nurse has found her calling at retirement village

November 08, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - Jody Dembowski doesn't know why, but something about her seems to attract older people.

"It never fails - if I'm waiting somewhere, an older person will invariably sit next to me and we'll start talking," she said.

Whatever the connection, it works well for her in her work as a registered nurse at Williamsport Retirement Village, where Dembowski was recently named Registered Nurse of the Year.

Nominated by her peers, Dembowski was honored in late October at a ceremony hosted by Directors of Nursing Association of Maryland for Washington, Frederick and Carroll counties.

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As day-shift charge nurse, she is responsible for 36 residents on one of the busiest units in the nursing home at Williamsport Retirement Village.

"There are two physicians assigned to 'A' Wing, but the round-the-clock care falls to the nursing staff," Dembowski said. Monitoring and looking for changes in the residents is a big part of that work.

Many of the residents on her wing are only at Williamsport for a short time while they are undergoing rehabilitation, she said. A lot of coordination is required as residents come and go.

In addition, Dembowski and the other nurses have to arrange the rehabilitation schedules around the other activities offered there for residents.

One of the nurses who nominated Dembowski said she keeps the unit running like a well-oiled machine, thanks to her direction and motivation. Her cheerful nature and tenacity when striving for her residents' best interests also were mentioned as leading characteristics.

A North Carolina native, Dembowski studied at Cabarrus Hospital in Concord, N.C., the hospital where she was born. Since then, she and her husband, Joe, have moved all over the world because of his U.S. Air Force career.

A registered nurse for 20 years, Dembowski said she knew early in her life that the health field was the career track she wanted to explore, but she had no idea what type of nursing would suit her.

"I was a physical therapy aide for two years and then later I went into obstetrics," she said.

It was while the Dembowskis were stationed in Florida that she got into the nursing home field, which seemed to be suit her best.

"I really enjoy working with older people. They have such interesting stories to tell," she said.

Now residing in Myersville in Frederick County, Md., the Dembowskis have two daughters, Susan, a high school senior, and Amy, a college sophomore.

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