Role models

Early role models fuel LPN’s career choice

Estelle Duncan Kingswood

The act of observation is powerful, both in what we observe and in what people observe in us. More than 30 years ago Henry Ford Kingswood Hospital LPN Estelle Duncan watched as an LPN cared for her grandfather.

“The knowledge base and compassion this LPN had for my grandfather and my family at the end of his life from dementia led me to this career choice,” Duncan says. 

Observing this high level of what HFHS nurses practice in the form of Culture of Caring spurred Duncan to pursue a career in nursing … in particular, as an LPN. 

She zoned in on behavioral health as a specialty after, once again, observing the interaction between the nursing staff and a neighbor who was at Northville State Hospital. Observing this compassion and caring further guided Duncan to her chosen patient population.

“I found the treatment to be interesting,” recalls Duncan, who is the only LPN at Kingswood. “My goal is to instill hope to counter the frequent hopelessness mentally ill persons have in regards to the disease of mental illness. My expectation is that my patient population will have symptom reductions. I am always eager to see this.”

But Duncan’s work reaches beyond the scope of her patients. Nurse Manager, Wendolin Lusk recognizes both Duncan’s attention to patients and to her colleagues.

“Estelle is one of my hardest working nurses among many,” says Lusk. “She is very conscious about the care that she brings to the patients, taking time with them to explain their medications and educate them about possible side effects clearly and thoroughly. She also follows up with them regarding medication side effects while they are still inpatients. She works within her scope but also goes above and beyond in offering to assist the RNs. 

“Estelle has been ask to fill the void when a mental health worker or unit secretary were unavailable. She does this without hesitation. Estelle rarely complains about her workload and is willing to help others with theirs. I salute Estelle in her diligent work performance and in being a good team member.”

Duncan is fueled by the Nightingale Pledge, which calls on those in the profession to zealously nurse those who are ill. She also uses the support of the Culture of Caring.

“The Nightingale Pledge is my work ethic and the Culture of Caring model is a daily reminder to do more … and do it with a smile!” she says.