Passion Cultivated on a Paper Route Leads to Passion for Care

August 10, 2016

For most kids, working a paper route means getting up early to provide a community with the timely delivery of the day’s news, without much interaction with the people behind the doors where the newspaper finds its place. Doug Rau, a Nurse Technician working in the Long-Term Care Unit at Memorial Healthcare, doesn’t qualify as “most kids.”

“Many of my customers were older,” he said. “I would deliver papers and would be asked to help them do something.”

As someone raised to respect his elders, he gladly assisted on any task. From mowing the yard to bringing in groceries, Doug began cultivating his passion for helping the elderly at an early age.

While working as a roofer, Doug’s mother-in-law became ill. He observed her in hospitals, and felt her treatment lacked sincere care. That spurred a newfound motivation to help others.

“Once I found out what was really going on, I was upset,” he said. “I thought I could do a lot better. I put that purpose in myself to make a difference.”

Working in a couple nursing homes before arriving at Memorial Healthcare, Doug remembers fighting off nerves that almost kept him from attending a job fair at Memorial over three years ago. He recalls walking in and seeing hundreds of people, believing he didn’t have a chance at securing a job. But he was happily mistaken.

Coming from a nursing home, finding a much lower patient-to-tech ratio much lower within Memorial Healthcare’s Long-Term Care Unit made Doug ecstatic. The lower ratio allows Doug to build relationships among the people he helps daily. He’s not only assisting patients with everything from bathing to helping them eat, but having conversations with them, listening to music with them, and more.

“It makes you think,” he said. “The way you treat them, the families know. They are not a number here. They have a name, a purpose. It’s a good feeling to be able to get to know these people on a first name basis.”

Doug credits his unit’s teamwork as a driving factor in making the patient experience more comfortable – and comfort is critical in the Long-Term Nursing Care Unit.

“We make them feel at home,” he said. “It’s one big family up here. We have fun and help people at the same time.”

The family environment helps with the workload. The ability to build relationships – among both coworkers and patients – makes every day different than the last. And while the work can be challenging, Doug will tell you that he returns home after work without feeling burnt out, as he did in previous jobs. Instead, he finds himself eager to return to Memorial Healthcare day in and day out. Even taking the time to check in on his patients during his time off.

“Money is not the only reward you get in a place like this,” he said. “It’s feeling the love, getting to know people, having fun with them, joking around with them. That’s a large reward.”