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Program Support Resource Nurse Anne Young returned to work at Perkins after 15 years

Many employees who leave Perkins “boomerang” and return several years later. For Anne, coming back to Perkins felt like coming home.

Anne Young holding a flower bouquet

We sat down with Anne Young to chat about her experience at Perkins. She is what we lovingly call, a boomerang employee, which means she left Perkins for other life experiences and/or opportunities but decided to come back.

Q: Please introduce yourself, your name, your role, the area of Perkins, and the number of years that you’ve been here. 

A: My name is Anne Young, I am a Program Support Resource Nurse serving all three programs at Perkins, and I work for Health Services. This is my eleventh year working at Perkins. I was here for eight years, left for 15 years, and just came back three years ago. We have some other nurses that have also come back — we call ourselves “boomerang”.

About 10% of Perkins employees return to work at Perkins after having had other work experiences.

Q: Why were you at Perkins for so many years, and what made you want to come back? 

A: I loved it here! I had a baby, my firstborn, and I just couldn’t take care of her and work full-time at the same time. At any job I held since leaving, Perkins was always my comparison and no place ever met the bar.
When a previous coworker reached out to me about returning to work at Perkins, I decided to come back to help out in our Deafblind department for a few weeks. But it just felt like coming home, and I realized that I could make it work. I’m definitely a Perkins groupie and a big fan of Perkins!

Q: What brought you to Perkins initially? 

A: I had been working at Franciscan Children’s Hospital, and I was just looking for a change in pace and environment. When I became a nurse, I knew I wanted to work with kids, and I knew I didn’t want to be in a hospital setting forever. I had been a teacher before that, so I just felt like I found the best of both worlds, teaching and nursing in the school. And I truly enjoy working with medically complex kids.

Plus, my maiden name was Anne Sullivan! I followed Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller’s stories when I was a young girl, so I felt that I was born to be here… A fun fact: Lots of long-time employees refer to me as Anne Sullivan because my name was known around campus.

Q: What does Perkins mean to you? 

A: The first word that comes to mind is compassion. The students here get everything they could need, which isn’t always the case because I’ve worked elsewhere. The compassion and care for the whole child are very holistic and team-oriented, with the child at the center of the focus.

View through a French door showing the Bennet building across a courtyard.

Q: What is your favorite part of your day at work?

A: Seeing my coworkers, the kids, and just interacting with everyone. I love the side conversations and the “how was your summer?” I also like discovering how to best assist with the medical needs of any particular student.

Q: What is your favorite hobby or your favorite thing to do outside of work?

A: I love swimming, but it’s hard to find a good pool, so hiking is probably my next favorite activity. I hike in the woods a lot around my town. I love anything outdoorsy, including the beach!

Since leaving, Perkins was always my comparison, no one ever met the bar. 

Anne Young

Lessons Learned & Wishes for the Future

Q: What has been the most valuable lesson you have learned at Perkins so far? 

A: I have learned to look at things from different perspectives. I see the children through the eyes of a nurse but I try to understand the parents’ perspective because they live with their child at home. I prioritize the teaching assistant’s perspective as they provide day-to-day care at Perkins, and also the teacher’s perspective, working through unique challenges to educate them. We are all working together to support the child and that is so rewarding!

I believe it’s easy to get tunnel vision in your area of expertise, but there are so many people with exquisite knowledge of things that I’m completely ignorant of. This is especially true here at Perkins, because of the setting and the team-centered approach. Everyone has different areas of specialty and that is a wonderful thing.

Q: What is your wish for Perkins in the future?

A: I’d like to highlight the amazing work that our direct care staff does every day! They have one of the most important jobs here and they directly impact our students every single day.

Q: Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you hoped to talk about?

A: I’d like to talk about how uniquely interesting the role of a nurse is here at Perkins. What we provide for these medically complex children and what we do at Health Services is essential for running the school successfully, even though the focus of the school is education. We are respected and valued for our contributions.

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