THE REWARDS OF NURSING
He’s attentive, compassionate and loves his special job as a licensed practical nurse.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Kevin Shreckengast recently was honored as national LPN Hero of the Year by BAYADA Home Health Care.
Shreckengast, 51, of Beech Creek, has worked for the past three years with a youth with very special needs.
“I take a lot of pleasure in it,” he said. “I know it’s good for him.”
Andrew Kriebel, 14, has Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes developmental disabilities and neurological problems.
Andrew suffers from seizures, a sleep disorder and is non-verbal and in need of the sort of constant attention that Shreckengast provides.
“When you are around Andrew, he looks like a normal child. (But) You see that his mind hasn’t grown with his body,” he said. “I just try to give him more than what he’s used to. Be energetic with him. Give him the exercise he needs.”
Andrew, once an active child, lost his ability to walk in 2007 and ended up in a wheelchair. Over time, muscle atrophy set in and he began growing too large for a regular nurse to attend to his needs.
That’s when Shreckengast became his special nurse.
Dean Kriebel, Andrew’s father, said there was initial concerns that Shreckengast might not be able to offer the same level of compassion as a female nurse.
But Shreckengast proved to be up to the task.
He talks and consoles Andrew during his seizures, holds his hand when he needs shots.
When an experimental drug was used to help Andrew walk, he took him to therapy appointments and walked with him to help build up his leg muscles.
Eventually, Andrew was able to walk longer distances – around his neighborhood and the halls of his school.
On May 31, 2013, people lined the streets to witness Andrew walk the 2.5-mile route to school from his home.
“My son inspires other children, faculty and people throughout our community by his determination to be mobile,” Kriebel said. “Most of that determination has been provoked by Kevin pushing him to succeed.”
Shreckengast said he’s with Andrew five days a week.
“We go for walks,” he said. “I try to get him out and around people. We go down to the mall.”
Shreckengast’s work with their son is very much appreciated by Dean and his wife, Amy, who nominated him for the award.
And while he demonstrates all the positive attributes of nursing, it wasn’t long ago he was doing something else.
For years, he worked as an electrician, but when the company where he worked shut down, he had to find another career.
After studying nursing at Pennsylvania College of Technology, he went to work at a local nursing home before landing at BAYADA.
“I’m really happy with what I’m doing,” he said.
He said he’s humbled by the award.
Established in 1999, the Hero on the Home Front Program recognizes care professionals who consistently demonstrate the BAYADA core values of compassion, excellence, and reliability. Patients and peers nominate local heroes who become eligible for national hero status as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, therapists, home health aides and social workers.