No. 3 Best Medium Nonprofit
Children’s Nursing Specialties
It’s hard to believe that Children’s Nursing Specialties was put together in two months. Formed in 2005 by a group of former employees from an organization that went under, the Portland-based nonprofit provides in-home care and out-of-home programs to 18 medically fragile children and young adults in six counties. “It was crazy, but we got it done,” office manager Sharon Wullbrandt says.
Executive director Barbara Wood knows that her nursing staff could find more lucrative work elsewhere. Yet the profound commitment the nonprofit shows to the well-being of both its clients and staff is a major draw to nurses who have practiced in more regimented and detached work environments. And it has landed them on the 100 Best list two years in a row.
“We work with school districts to mainstream them and have all the advantages of unaffected kids,” nurse Anne Pierce says. “Sometimes you’re with a client for years; you have the advantage of growing with them.” In addition to partly funding gym memberships and other self-health activities, staff members value the organization’s approachable management.
Nightshift nurse Jan McWayne, a 40-year-plus veteran of the profession, appreciates that CNS will help fund trips to conferences. Even with that training, the nurses often face challenges as the only caretaker in a client’s home “Sometimes autonomy can be scary,” Pierce says. “[But] the other nurses are really supportive if you ever have a problem.”