Lakeview CNA Darcy Eckland is proud of her work, and it shows. Read her story here.
“The people are what keeps me going,” says Darcy Eckland, who recently began her 35th year working as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Lakeview Health Care Center in West Salem.
Spend some time with Eckland at the nursing home, and you’ll soon notice her skills as a caregiver. She’s passionate about what she does, but also patient, especially when helping a resident.
“I love my job here,” she says. “I care very much for our residents.”
Eckland’s day starts by helping residents get up in the morning and brush their teeth, comb their hair, eat breakfast. It’s intimate, demanding work. But Eckland’s job is about much more than helping with everyday tasks.
“We don’t just take somebody and help them eat, help them wash,” she says. “We love them, and they know it.”
At times, Eckland says the job can be heartbreaking. Over the years, she’s shared the final moments of the lives of several residents she’s cared for. The experience helped her, she says, when she cared for members of her own family at the end of their lives.
“I don’t have a problem with death,” Eckland says. “I think when you’re watching someone that you’ve cared for, it’s a relief, a blessing, to see them finally at peace.”
Eckland worked right through the pandemic at Lakeview and is pleased to see signs of a return to normalcy, with almost all residents and staff now vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It was scary at times, but I knew I had to do it,” she says of working closely with residents during the pandemic. “I knew all the safety precautions and I followed them.”
Eckland feels relieved, and much safer, since receiving the vaccine herself. She's a former president of Lakeview’s union local and thinks CNAs deserve more recognition for their work.
“I love and care for your grandpas, grandmas, moms, dads, and I do it very well,” she says, a statement that will be confirmed by anyone who has seen Eckland working with Lakeview’s residents, often at their most fragile moments. In short, she’s proud of her work, and it shows.
“I’m not sure if I’m ready to retire yet,” she says, but when she does, she’ll have eight grandkids to spend more time with, and leave a legacy of skill and compassion behind her at Lakeview.