by Women of Distinction Magazine, March 2016

With a caring, compassionate heart and love for helping others, Ingrid Ilona Hendrickson took a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) class as a senior in high school. After graduating in 2003, at age 17, she started working as a nursing assistant; caring for the elderly. While working, Ingrid took full-time nursing courses and even played field hockey for the NCAA.

For the past 12 years, Ingrid has worked as a CNA with the elderly in nursing homes, skilled care facilities, and in their homes; in New Hampshire and later in Washington.

Today, while pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing from Western Governors University Washington, Ingrid works for Total Care; a family owned and operated home health agency that has served communities throughout Washington for over 27 years. She performs all nursing tasks for patients and is also there to support their families.

Ingrid’s advice for anyone looking to work in the field of nursing is to make sure you learn how to take care of yourself first.

“Nurses need to be strong, so they can care for their patients; don’t let yourself get burned out. We are the backbone of healthcare; prepare yourself mentally and emotionally to care for patients and families during life altering events. Also, don’t let one experience change your mind. If you truly love to care for people, compassion is what will keep you coming back to work every day.”

Additionally, due to her own experiences, Ingrid plans to start an advocacy center for teens who have survived traumatic life experiences.

“I am the product of a broken childhood. At the age of five, I decided that I was going to be a nurse when I grew up. I had several setbacks that challenged me tremendously during my journey through nursing school and was at the point where I felt like I wanted to give up. However, I believe that failure is a part of success; and even though I failed, I never stopped believing in my capabilities or lost sight of my goals. I persevered with relentless determination for myself and (most importantly) for my little boy.”

Ingrid wants to leave a legacy that inspires women from all walks of life.

“We all have a story that molds us into who we are and we all go through tough times, but that doesn’t define us. You can achieve your dreams. Don’t let fear in. Trust your inner voice. Be bold, be strong, and never give up! If you have passion for something, you will keep going.”

Q&A

Q: What is special about your company?

A: Total Care is family owned. I love how I’m able to work with my patients and family in the comfort of their home. It is the best way to practice patient centered care and you become an integral part of their family.

Q: What opportunities does your company offer?

A: I have been able to go to Seattle Children’s Hospital to train with nurses and meet my patients and family before the patient goes home. It is a great way to integrate a new patient into our company and prepare them for discharge into our care.

Q: What values do you practice that pertains to the success of your company?

A: When I signed on to work for Total Care, I emphasized to my supervisors that I truly believed in loyalty to my company. At times, we struggle with staffing, but I always show up to my shifts and pick up extra hours when I can. I am honest, work with integrity, treat my patients with respect, and always strive to maintain a positive attitude with a smile.