(First in a Series for National Nurse’s Month)
On any given day during the school year, Gail Goss, RN, enjoys taking care of people from opposite ends of the demographic spectrum. During the day, she cares for elementary school children within the Anoka-Hennepin School District, and in the evening she cares for residents in assisted living at Saint Therese at Oxbow Lake in Brooklyn Park.
Now in her 15th year as a part time nurse at Oxbow Lake, and her 35th as a nurse, Goss said she still feels like she makes a difference every single day.
“It’s what keeps me going, the rewarding feeling at the end of my shift that I’ve made a difference in someone’s life. In at least one,” said Goss. “The reward can be something small like finding someone’s hearing aid or helping a family member who is having concerns about their loved one’s care.”
That sentiment of making a difference is fitting as the theme for National Nurse’s Week and Month, is “You Make a Difference.” This month we’ll tell stories about some of the more than 180 nurses that do such admirable work for Saint Therese senior communities.
Goss said she knew she wanted to be a nurse from a young age. “I was very intrigued with knowing how the body works; I loved learning about different diseases and conditions, and I loved helping and caring for others.”
The Brooklyn Park native received her nursing education at North Hennepin Community College and then her bachelor’s degree at Bemidji State. She said she loved the elderly geriatric population from the get-go, saying her favorite rotation in nursing school was in geriatrics.
She began working part time at Saint Therese when she needed something to supplement her income. She works two nights per week, from about 4:30 to 9 p.m. and also fills in during the summer, helping care for the 53 assisted living residents receiving some type of care or service.
She said that evenings can be quieter than during the day and she’s able to not only tackle administrative tasks that weren’t completed earlier but also spend quality time with residents and families. “It allows me to be present in each unit for families and their questions.”
Her internal guide has always been to treat residents with respect, kindness, dignity and compassion. “Those words are always in my head, and I share them with other nurses and aides who are just starting out. There’s nothing like helping others, especially in their time of need.”
When not working, Goss likes to spend time with friends and family and is looking forward to welcoming her first grandchild in about 30 days. She has a particular passion for ice fishing and is a member of the Women Anglers of Minnesota. She said she enjoys nothing more than being out on the ice, fishing.