Director of Nursing Jennifer Alicandri enjoys making a difference. With more than three years under her belt with BrightStar Care, and 17 years in the nursing business, Alicandri represents the Woodbury, New York franchise with passion, comprehensive care and love.
A seasoned caregiver, Alicandri was nominated for BrightStar Care’s Nurse of the Year award. With any success story, there are obstacles, and Alicandri is no different. “My grandmother, who had helped raise me passed from cancer just as I was rounding the corner to my path for nursing school,” Alicandri said. “Losing her was a big part of my choice to go into this career. I wish that I could have made a bigger difference in her life. Her memory keeps me going and she was a very spiritual woman, so I feel that this is my opportunity to do good things on earth by honoring the people who have worked their whole lives for these homes.”
Alicandri believes home nurses are every bit as capable as nurses in the hospital, and it’s that personal atmosphere where she thrives. “I feel like home care nursing is the shining jewel of nursing because it allows me to be the type of nurse that I wanted to be,” Alicandri said. “I see one person and I am able to help and educate them and feel this great satisfaction. It’s not just the one person you are taking care of, it is the whole family, and it’s a privilege to be able to do that and have that aspect of nursing.”
Alicandri started in Oncology, and has worked in hospice for the past 20 years. She started small with franchisees Don and Maureen Nickel, working 10 hours per week to help grow the business. After BrightStar Care was featured on the television show, “Undercover Boss,” in 2009, Alicandri did her research to see if she wanted to work for BrightStar.
“Since I had come from a less than ethical place, I wanted to make sure that this was a good fit for me,” she said. The mutual payoff has been good for the 45-year-old mother of three. She is more than happy how things worked out. “The most rewarding is having the privilege of helping clients and their families – it’s what keeps me going and motivated,” she Alicandri added.
Alicandri’s passion at work isn’t a fluke. She lives it every day, even at home.
A few years ago, Alicandri and her children had developed a family friend, a neighbor named Roger. He became “like an uncle” to her kids, Alicandri said. One time, Roger didn’t show up to meet Alicandri and her family, so she entered his house to find Roger had suffered a stroke. Alicandri took Roger and his wife to the hospital.
Alicandri and the town rallied to turn Roger’s home into a livable condition by the time he and his wife returned from the hospital. Unfortunately, five weeks later, Roger’s wife died of breast cancer. At that point, Alicandri went to court to become Roger’s legal guardian.
Alicandri took him into her home and cared for him for the next seven years. Two years ago, Roger passed away. “We still miss him dearly and cherish all he has given us,” she said.
“This is what I love about my job, being able to allow Roger and people like him, the ability to live their life comfortably and deservingly. I am very privileged and blessed, and I thank Roger for that opportunity. I was able to teach my children the valuable lessons of what it means to take care of someone and to give back to the community.”