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Nursing Student Kristy Kugelman Learns from Her Patients

Kristy Kugelman

Sometimes people with Alzheimer's may have trouble remembering what they ate for dinner last night. Often, though, they will be able to tell stories from their life experiences in remarkable detail. As a Personal Care Assistant at the Gardens Alzheimer and Dementia care facility in Yuba City, Kristy Kugelman has learned a lot of those stories - and much, much more.

"I knew I wanted to go into nursing, so I applied for the job to get some practical experience," says Kristy, who will enter her fourth semester of nursing school at Chico State in the fall. "I've worked here part-time during the school year and nearly full-time during the summer for more than a year and a half. It's a small facility, so we can spend one-on-one time with patients and get to know their stories. After awhile, you feel like one of the family."

In spite of juggling a busy schedule with school and work, the 26-year-old Kristy is known for always being dependable and willing to help whenever and wherever she is needed at the Gardens. "I truly love my job, and since it's something I enjoy, I try to do my best," she explains. "I know I'm making a difference for my patients. And their families are relieved to have their loved ones in a place where they're getting safe and professional care."

With a year and a half left to go before she earns her nursing degree, Kristy is already looking toward a long-term career with Fremont-Rideout. "The staff at the Gardens - and at Fremont-Rideout as a whole - are dedicated people who are great to work with," she says. "They are planning to expand the facility here at the Gardens, and once I get my RN degree, I hope to work in an area like this or in some other aspect of elder care such as hospice."

Wherever her nursing career takes her, Kristy is sure to be a STAR.