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Interest in relationships brought nurse back to Presbyterian Manor

Debra Akins joined the nursing staff at Topeka Presbyterian Manor in 2014, but she was already familiar with the community.

The evening shift supervisor worked here while attending Washburn University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1983.

“I really enjoyed working here when I was going to school,” Debra said. “The opportunity to work as a CNA and CMA enriched my overall education in nursing.

“In the hospital, people come and go. Here, you have the ability to develop deeper connections. At this point in my career, I wanted a setting where I could develop longer-term relationships with residents and their families.”

A calling to care for others is one of the reasons Debra decided to be a nurse. She also enjoyed science, and a mentor who was a nurse encouraged her to consider the profession.

After college, Debra went on to work at St. Francis Hospital in Topeka. She also lived and worked in Denver for four years while studying for her master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis in testing, evaluations and assessments.

She loves learning so much that Debra considered pursuing a doctorate, but by that time she had started a family and felt it wasn’t the right time. But she has continued to grow and learn in her career, and some of her best teachers have been the residents of Topeka Presbyterian Manor.

“They are invaluable,” Debra said. “They are wise, kind, generous, and ready to share their stories. I learn so much from them.”

She also values the community she is a part of as a staff member at Presbyterian Manor.

“Heather, the executive director, and Jody, the director of nursing, create an environment of support, appreciation, and focus on person-centered care,” Debra said. “People truly care about each other. It makes Topeka Presbyterian Manor a special place to work."

Debra said. “People truly care about each other. It makes Topeka Presbyterian Manor a special place to be a part of.”

Strong administration has shepherded the community through the challenges of the past 15 months.

“They’ve done a fantastic job guiding us through the pandemic,” Debra said. “I’m so appreciative of their leadership.”

When Debra isn’t working, she spends as much time as possible with her daughters, ages 30 and 25. Both are graduated from college and living in Topeka, but that won’t last forever. Her youngest will be moving away to attend law school in the near future.

“I am just soaking up all the moments I have with them,” Debra said.

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