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Alice Capps made a career out of her caregiver’s heart

Alice Capps has always been a caregiver. For the better part of 54 years, she’s used her heart to tend to the needs of others in her nursing career.

“I think when I started, I was a young girl,” Alice said. “My parents were elderly to be parents, and my father got injured by a car that hit him in the street. I took care of him before I left home. I was 16 when I started in nursing. I worked in the Youth Corps, and I got into long-term care at 18. I worked as a CNA and CMT for 20 years before going to nursing school in 1995.”

Currently, Alice is the evening charge nurse at Fulton Presbyterian Manor. She spends her shifts checking on residents and making sure she’s doing what she can to care for their needs. Throughout a career that’s taken her to different types of work — including hospitals and cancer centers — she has developed a special place in her heart for caring for aging populations.

“You have to have a caregiver’s heart to do this work,” Alice said. “When I look at an elderly person, I don’t see an old person. I see a young person. I see the stories they can tell you, and you can learn a lot. It’s amazing. That’s my heart right there. I always say that I grew up with the elderly and grew old with them.”

For anyone looking to make a career of nursing, Alice offers some advice.

“Start working as a certified nurse’s aide and see if that’s what you want to do,” Alice said. “It’s demanding and difficult, but rewarding if you have the heart to do it. Then consider becoming an licensed practical nurse and get that clinical training. And remember if you can’t do what you want to do when you’re young, never give up on that dream.”

Caring for residents has taken on a new level of meaning in the face of a global pandemic that has restricted access to the community, forced distance from loved ones and raised worries about our collective health.

“It’s hard on the residents,” Alice said. “It’s hard to see them wanting their families, but they can’t come in. We sometimes take them to the windows or doors to see them or do FaceTime with them. Since no one can come in and see them, I try to spend a little time with them in their rooms each night, talking with them a bit, just to make sure they’re doing OK.”

Alice said that she really appreciates the values that guide Fulton Presbyterian Manor, as well as the dedication, work ethic and care for its employees.

“I think we have a great bunch of people here,” Alice said. “They are very caring people. When I came to PMMA, I liked their Christian values. And I was at a time in my life, I was depressed. My oldest son had passed away. I came here, and it felt like home.”

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