Ericka Daniel says that she was just a few classes away from obtaining a teaching degree when she began to realize she was not sure a classroom was where she wanted to be. Then, her grandmother suffered a stroke and needed full-time care. Because she was not employed at the time and was attending school, she agreed to become her grandmother’s caregiver. It was while providing that care she realized nursing was her calling.
“Just helping her sit up in bed and seeing the look on her face because she was more comfortable made me feel good,” Ms. Daniel said. “Even today, it is the little things I do that mean the most to me. It may simply be referring a family to a specialist or holding the hands of someone who is feeling bad. Those are the things that make me happy in my job.”
Ms. Daniel said that she worked as a bedside nurse for 18 years. She decided that she wanted to care for patients in a more directive manner so she returned to school at 36. She said that her youngest child was in Kindergarten so she felt it was time, but her older child struggled with her not being home because she was attending classes. She took a break until her children were a little older and finished her degree at 39. She began working at La Red in March of this year.
“La Red lined up with what I wanted to do,” Ms. Daniel said. “My main purpose is to help underserved populations. I wanted to work at La Red while I was completing my student nursing, but thought I would need to speak Spanish and since I don’t speak a bit of Spanish, I was concerned. When I called about the job posting, I was asked if I spoke Spanish and I told them I speak “Dora-Level” Spanish as my kids used to watch Dora the Explorer and that was about the only Spanish I knew. It turns out that La Red serves people from all cultures and nationalities, and supports me via interpreters whenever necessary to effectively communicate with my Spanish speaking patients.”
As a nurse practitioner, Ms. Daniel said she sees, diagnoses and treats patients. She says that although she does many of the things a doctor does, the two positions are not equal. If a patient has a serious illness or injury, she refers them to a medical doctor for treatment. She says that as a family nurse practitioner, she also deals with women’s health such as birth control education, but she does not treat children even though she is certified to do so.
Ms. Daniel lives in Dover with her husband and two children as well as her mother. She is originally from Philadelphia but has been in Dover for the past 16 years. She said she has always liked Milford and worked at the Bayhealth campus as a staff nurse.
La Red Health Center is a multi-site health center in Sussex County, which provides quality patient centered care to the diverse members of the community. Their centers provide primary health care for all ages as well as behavioral health services, prenatal and women’s care. Dental services are available in their Georgetown office. For more information, families and individuals are encouraged to call 302-855-1233 or visit www.laredhealthcenter.org.