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Night nurse is grateful for her career

Nancy Denham first walked through the doors of Topeka Presbyterian Manor because she needed a temporary job.

She worked as a classroom assistant and needed to make some money during the summer. That led her to take a certified nursing assistant course offered at Presbyterian Manor.

Nineteen years later, Nancy is still caring for residents at Presbyterian Manor. She went on to become a certified medication assistant and finally a licensed practical nurse.

For the last five years, Nancy has worked the night shift.

“It took about seven months to get used to it,” Nancy said. “For a while, I felt tired all the time. But once I got used to it, I just loved it. I feel like I have all the time I need to spend with the residents. Any time a situation comes up, I don’t feel like I’m rushed.”

Nancy doesn’t have as much opportunity to chat with residents when she’s working nights, but she enjoys the chance to visit more when she fills in on the evening shift.

Born in Fulton, Kan., Nancy has lived in Topeka her whole life. She graduated from Topeka High School in 1993, and worked in a library for nine years, during which time she “got used to the quiet.”

Life is even quieter than usual, thanks to the pandemic.

“I’ve been staying home a lot,” Nancy said. “I’ve been catching up on some reading and watching some favorite television shows. I pretty much stay home.”

That minimizes the risk to the residents she cares for, Nancy said. At home, her cats Betsy and Lowell keep her company. And she always looks forward to coming to work.

“I feel pretty lucky, because when I first took that job at Presbyterian Manor, I didn’t know what to expect,” Nancy said. “I just thought if I don’t like it, I’ll just start working at the school again. It turned out I loved it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

“It wasn’t what I expected to do with my life, but it sure worked out well for me.”

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