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Two nurses – a story told in tattoos

Nurses at Sunset Haven in Carnduff discuss their careers and their passion for care:

CARNDUFF - Sunset Haven is a retirement home in the town of Carnduff.

It provides three different options for seniors – a personal care home for those needing long-term care; an assisted-living place for those who have difficulty living independently; and a home to those who can live independently but need to downsize. 

A place like Sunset Haven requires a large staff to meet the needs of the residents – cooks,  maintenance, administrative employees, housekeeping workers, client care staff and, of course, nurses.

If you were to enter the building, you’d see an office immediately to your right with an arm on the desk. On that arm is a tattoo that states that ‘life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.’  In other words, the quality of a life is not measured by length, but by what we put into it and take out of it.

That tattooed arm, is of the director of care Janelle Farnden. She has been overseeing the operation of Sunset Haven since April 2021. Prior to that, she was a nurse for 14 years, working at an intensive care unit in Regina and then in acute emergency in places such as Estevan and Oxbow. She also nursed at a long-term facility in Imperial.

She loved being a nurse, following in the footsteps of her mother. Like her mom, she found great satisfaction in meeting people and in helping and caring for them. There were times when Farnden saw some very heart-breaking things, but knowing that she had an opportunity to help and care for extended family members helped her get through those times.

While doing what she loved, she became aware of an administrative opportunity in Carnduff at Sunset Haven. She applied.

A move like this would vault her into a sphere, where she could have greater input and say into providing the type of care on the floor that she sought to give in those years as a nurse.

Does she miss practical nur.sing? Yes  But the rewards of knowing that she is now making a greater difference in the realm of nursing more than offsets what she misses. 

A few months into her new job, Farnden was able to make her first nursing hire. COVID-19 made hiring difficult in the world of nursing – nurses who worked part-time in one facility were not allowed to work in another one. When that restriction was lifted, she hired a young nurse, Kali Klatt and she also had a tattoo. Not on her arm, but on her collarbone.

This was not the reason she was hired, of course, but her tattoo also speaks of a life value – ‘Even on my weakest days, I get a little bit stronger’.  She strives to continually better herself, including her career as a nurse.

Klatt finished her schooling in August 2020 and had been working at the Gainsborough Health Centre. Her desire was to work in Carnduff, the place where she was living. When that finally happened in June 2021, she continued to work part-time at both locations. 

Like Farnden, she also was interested in nursing from a very young age. Long before any financial considerations, the appeal of helping others was her primary motivation for inspiring her to become a nurse. She enjoyed doing good for people and in her mind, the best way to do that was becoming a nurse. And she has had no regrets. 

One of her greatest joys, as is the case with so many nurses, is interacting with those she cares for, getting to know them better.  Nursing is much more to her than poking a needle into an arm, measuring out a dose of medicine or placing an eye-drop into someone’s eye. She has learned so much about people and she has even cared for someone who survived the Holocaust. 

For her, opportunities to care become opportunities to share life. Her love for those under her care far surpasses any love she has for the paperwork of the job.

Klatt strives to learn something new every day that helps her in taking care of those she serves even better. Like her collarbone reminds her, even on weak days, she can get better. As she learns more about medicine and the science of health, she can take care of people better. 

As she learns more about the people she cares for, she can dispense larger doses of tender loving care, a characteristic of so many nurses.

Their tattoos help tell the story of why Sunset Haven is such a good place to be when you’re needing long-care help in the town of Carnduff.

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