BreeAnn Ortiz was 7 when her youngest brother was born. Even though she was part of a large family with three brothers and a sister, BreeAnn had a special bond with her youngest sibling. Born with a cognitive disorder, he was never able to progress beyond a one-year-old’s cognition. BreeAnn took on much of the responsibility of caring for her brother when her mother was at work, helping feed him and care for his daily needs, even staying right by his side as he learned to walk “I was doing many of the responsibilities of a CNA job long before I even trained as a CNA,” BreeAnn says. “Caring for him gave me a really unique experience with neurodiversity.”
BreeAnn didn’t think of putting her caregiving skills to work in a career until moving to Winston-Salem. Originally from California, BreeAnn moved to the East Coast to be near her grandmother and other brothers and sister who had moved east. It was here, looking for a job with flexible hours to accommodate her life as a mother of two young children, that she took a job with Piedmont Home Care.
“I’ve always admired nurses, and from a very young age, I felt a moral obligation to care for and advocate for others, especially those who do not have the resources to do so themselves,” says BreeAnn. “Working for Piedmont Home Care exploded both of those passions in me. I found out how much I love the work, and my clients, and through this job I’ve learned how much I want to continue to learn and grow in my career.”
BreeAnn started as a personal care assistant with Piedmont Home Care in 2021, and soon after completed her CNA license. She’s now working on her degree from South College. BreeAnn’s intrinsic talents for caregiving, her passion for advocating for her clients and a continued dedication to learning help make her a valuable part of the Piedmont Home Care team.
Caring for her brother gave BreeAnn some valuable experience she brings to her job at Piedmont Home Care. “I go into the client’s home and work quickly to learn their needs and the routine, to make sure they’re cared for in the best way possible. But I also ask them about themselves, and take time to get to know them,” she says. “I think what people want more than anything is the freedom to express their needs and be responded to with respect.”
BreeAnn’s compassion and understanding extends beyond her client to their family as well. “I know when family members make certain demands or express their expectations, it’s coming from a loving place,” she says. “They want their loved ones to have the best care possible, which I know from first-hand experience.”
Through her job at Piedmont Home Care, BreeAnn has found a place to utilize her talents for caregiving while working on a schedule that fits her family’s needs. Even better, she has found support and encouragement to continue to pursue her passion for geriatric care. “I can’t put enough emphasis on how important it is to honor the generations that came before us,” BreeAnn says. “It is on us as a society to listen and care for our geriatric community and not only provide accessibility to proper health care, but also at the quality they deserve. I want to be on the right side of history, and every day with Piedmont Home Care I am, and that to me is such a privilege.”
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