Careers in Aging: Deborah McKinsey, Licensed Practical Nurse Careers In Aging Week Published:March 23, 2021 Page ContentDeborah McKinsey has devoted 22 years to nursing, and in the past 11 months that calling was unlike anything she could have imagined. Deborah is an LPN at Port Charlotte Rehabilitation Center, where she works with short term rehab patients to help them heal and return home, as well as patients who live at the center and rely on her and her team to meet their 24-hour care needs. She loves working with people and loves the lessons they impart on her in every encounter, which is why she became a nurse. She feels blessed that every day she has a chance to make a long-term connection with her patients because Port Charlotte Rehab is the place they call home. Deborah's leadership and problem-solving skills, along with her calm demeanor and ability to think on her feet in any situation is why she was chosen to be the lead nurse at Port Charlotte’s COVID unit that was established in April so individuals from the community, as well as area nursing homes and assisted living facilities could be cared for to keep hospital beds available for those with more critical needs. Port Charlotte admitted COVID patients who needed a place to safely recover in a more home like environment. Every day, Deborah showed up, put on her protective gear and put her life on the line to care for some of our most vulnerable seniors. Mothers, fathers, husbands and wives who were affected by this virus were all patients under her care. And it was more than critical care she was delivering to these patients. Calming their fears, helping them understand why they couldn’t be together with their families and supporting their emotional needs played a huge role in what she did every day. It was physically exhausting and emotionally draining, but she was there. Port Charlotte’s COVID team helped over 300 patients successfully recover from the virus and return to their home. Deborah played a key role in that. Nursing home caregivers are not often recognized for the work they do. Like so many others, Deborah’s goal every day is not just great care and services but also support and love when her patients don’t have a family of their own. She is a true healthcare hero.