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Nursing from home: Hermitage woman opens up home-based clinic

NURSE WORKING FROM HOME RAW_frame_30623.jpeg
Posted at 1:05 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 19:46:34-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Like so many on the frontlines of the pandemic, Jan Andrews can barely tell where her work life ends and her home life begins. Partially because she's just so busy. "I realized I need to do something, I need to help in some way," Andrews said.

But mostly, it's because she brought her work home with her. Literally.

"I brought a piece of my counters in here, I brought a kitchen sink. I made it work," she said.

A front, small room in her house that was once a study, is now being used to study patient vitals and host well checkups. "Initially I thought, well telehealth during the pandemic, probably a good idea. There’s a big demand for it right now with everyone quarantined at home, so that’s where it started," said Andrews.

It's a huge contrast to what Jan was doing before the pandemic -- working at an urgent care clinic as a nurse practitioner.

"We were seeing a lot of patients. Once the pandemic hit, it was cut in half if not down way below half," she said.

Once COVID-19 started spreading, patients didn't feel safe to come in, so her company didn't want her to either. She was furloughed along with 150 others. "I was kind of shocked, I thought 'wait a minute, this is when you need medical professionals the most?'" Andrews pondered.

She spent a few days, circling the block, thinking about what to do next. She ultimately decided to revisit a long-term dream of her's -- to open up her own practice. There was just one problem.

"I realized I can’t open a clinic right now because no one's going to come. So I had this room in my home and I thought, I need to use it," said Andrews.

She's able to use it, due to relaxation of laws at both the local and state level that allow for healthcare from home capabilities during the pandemic.

Rightfully so, there are limitations. "I don’t do any surgical procedures. I’m not cutting on anybody or sewing anybody up or anything like that. It’s basically counseling, taking vitals," said Andrews.

Most of her time recently has been spent conducting her own COVID-19 testing from her driveway. Needless to say, it has the neighbors talking.

"They just park in her driveway, she does the test and gets the results and it’s just super convenient," said Mac Arvin, Jan's neighbor.

You won't hear any complaints, at least not from Mac and his wife, Carol. "I mean that’s a natural. She’s right next door," Mac said.

A few weeks ago, the Arvins learned they were likely exposed to COVID-19 at a church gathering. "We knew we had been exposed, it was just a natural that we called her and our friends came too," said Carol, who is also a nurse practitioner.

Their whole church group was able to learn, within just 15 minutes, if they tested positive.

"She has some rapid tests, which a lot of people in town don’t have. So certainly, if you're symptomatic, like some of our friends were, they got their positive right away," said Carol.

The Arvins got lucky. Both their rapid and PCR tests came back negative. They got their results in just 2-3 days, instead of a long wait at one of the Community Assessment Centers. "I can test a lot of people, pretty quick," said Andrews.

Even if you remove all the people she's tested for COVID, Jan already has an impressive number of patients. "About 52, and that’s a lot for me, it’s a lot of work, but is it enough? Well no. I think my goal is probably between 200-250 maximum and stop there," she said.

Andrews knows at some point the pandemic will end, but she hopes the demand for home healthcare won't. "I think people want that and I don’t think the pandemic, at least the memory of the pandemic, is going to go away overnight," said Andrews.

Even if it does, she hopes her little clinic with homegrown roots, can live on one way or another.

"Hopefully by then I’ll have enough patients that I can open up a clinic and still stay local and still keep my patient following -- that’s my goal," she said.

For more on Jan's services, click here.