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Nursing director leaned in to pandemic unknowns

Nursing director leaned in to pandemic unknowns

From the Nurses: The Heart of Health Care series
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Danielle Allen

Allen

For the nursing staff at Advanced Pain Care, negotiating the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic has become the new normal.

“Initially, we didn’t know what to expect. No one knew it was going to last for a year, or how bad it was going to get,” said Danielle Allen, director of nursing at the Waco and Killeen offices.

“(Personal protective equipment) was a challenge, and still is. We had to stop doing procedures for a month.”

Allen and her staff have adjusted, however, putting additional pandemic protocols into place and incorporating telemedicine practices.

As she puts it, “Our patients still need care ... still need their meds.”

Allen received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Texas at El Paso in December 2020. She has been in her current position since 2016 and has worked for Advanced Pain Care since 2012.

The Connally High School graduate first became interested in nursing during a career day event. She was drawn to the health care field and took a medical terminology class in high school — early building blocks that would lead her to enroll in McLennan Community College’s nursing program. When she graduated in 2010, she went to work at Providence Healthcare Network for two years before moving to Advanced Pain Care.

“I like to help people when they’re down,” Allen said. “When they’re scared, or at their lowest point, whether it’s an IV stick, or a procedure they are scared of, it’s our job to get them through it ... be there for them.”

Allen enjoys the pace of her work at Advanced Pain Care and the ongoing work for the patients treated there. She manages the procedure suites in Waco and Killeen, orders supplies, sets up post-op and pre-op calls and handles any and all tasks that come her way.

“We have a pretty big patient population,” Allen said. “You develop a bond with the patients, many of whom deal with chronic pain for a lifetime.”

Allen said the COVID-19 pandemic has helped the public become more aware of the challenges facing health care workers.

“I think people appreciate nurses a whole lot more now,” Allen said. “Nurses and people in health care don’t get to work from home. They really do put their necks out there.

“Those hospital nurses ... they’re savages,” Allen said with respect.

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