Nicole Laborde believes that there is a solution to every problem. Although the pandemic put her to the test, she stuck to her truth.

For Laborde, a registered nurse, founder and CEO of Ideal Home Healthcare Services and the Ideal School of Allied Healthcare in Hauppauge, the hurdles were personal and professional. You and her husband have COVID. His case was more serious than hers. Fortunately, both are fine.

Meanwhile, she had two businesses to run. COVID hit their industry, home nursing particularly hard, as many people feared having someone else at home as members of their household and many schools of all types have been closed temporarily or for extended periods of time.

While Laborde’s school, which trains a wide variety of health workers, was closed from mid-March to mid-June 2020, not only has it stayed open since then but has managed to increase the enrollment rate by 30% and keep it 80% during the pandemic. of your caregivers at home.

Nicole Laborde, RN, Founder / CEO of Ideal Home Healthcare Services and Ideal School of Allied Healthcare in Hauppauge, Wednesday July 28, 2021. Laborde shares the challenges and lessons learned during the pandemic. Photo credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa Loarca

Laborde shares how she found answers to the challenges of the pandemic.

What was your strategy for keeping your health workers at home?

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Everyone was afraid, but they braved the storm. We got them important PPE. We had an app that required them to do the self-assessment screening every morning before going to work. If they answered yes to a fever, cough, fatigue, or other symptoms, they could not work. A nurse would contact them. We called our staff to encourage them. We changed our approach to a few things, such as: B. to use the same employee in a household, not to change, not to take on new people who could expose an elderly, sick or sick person to a greater risk of COVID. This required strength, but was necessary for security and stability.

How have school enrollments increased?

Many students worried that we would not open again. My staff reached out to the students a few times a week to check on them and let them know that we were determined to come back. They kept their faith in us and they all came back. We grew as we stepped up our advertising on social media, Facebook, and Instagram. From media reports it also became clear that health workers were in great demand and with the new appreciation for these employees, interest in this area has increased. Some people who have been laid off from their jobs have been looking for opportunities to change careers.

What challenges remain despite your success in the crisis?

It is difficult to find qualified nurses to train my students, especially difficult to find nurses who also speak Spanish. I need more money to keep up a higher level of advertising. I also compete with state unemployment; Some people choose to stay out of the workforce. Then when it comes to office workers that I have to hire, people want to work remotely, which is not ideal for us, so there are challenges.

You have experienced a lot personally and professionally what has brought you further?

My belief. From there my strength came during the fire. I don’t know where I would have been without my belief in God. I know that there is a solution to every problem. I rely on it to get better.

What lessons did the pandemic teach you?

Life is very short. Enjoy every moment. The pandemic has shown the importance and need of well-trained health workers. Our eyes are open now. The health system needs to be improved for both patients and service providers.

By Sheryl Nance-Nash
Newsday special