Stephanie Zishka: Owner, Director of Nursing has passion for helping people age at home

May 7th, 2015

Stephanie Zishka RNStephanie Zishka is not only a Director of Nursing at the BrightStar Care location in Fort Wayne, Indiana, she’s also one of three owners. For Zishka, her career as a nurse is the fulfillment of a lifetime dream. “I just knew I always wanted to be a nurse, even as a little kid,” she said. “I always wanted to be a pediatric nurse and when I was, it opened a new arena that I didn’t even know existed in home care.” Stephanie said she’s built a team of RN case managers and clinicians to assist on her business’ success. A University of Iowa graduate, the 22-year nursing veteran got her start for 12 years in the pediatric intensive care and emergency room areas. “During many of those years and moving across the country, pediatric home care was something I did on the side,” Stephanie said. “I took care of a lot of kids in the ICU that later would go home, I followed them in their transition back home and trained the home care team to care for them. I did a shift a week to stay engaged and in touch with the families. After that, I was a stay-at-home mom and took a short pause in my career.” But Stephanie couldn’t stay away for long. That itch for helping others through home care brought her to BrightStar Care. Along with a friend, she and her husband purchased a location that opened in 2010. “We came across BrightStar Care, did deeper research and completely fell in love with the brand and what it stands for,” Stephanie said. “We strive to do our best each day and we are consistently ranking in the top 10 of the revenue system. Although it can be difficult at times to juggle both roles of DON and business owner, both of my partners help in making things run smoothly.” Stephanie says it’s a challenge when she knows clients need more help but can’t afford it. Deep in her heart, she wishes she could help in any way possible. “It’s sad when there’s no other option for us than to accept we can’t be the hero in every situation,” she said. In home health care, caretakers do their best to keep clients in the home for the rest of their lives, avoiding a nursing home, if that’s their wish. This gives Stephanie a strong sense of satisfaction. "The most rewarding part is helping keep people in their homes who want to stay in their homes and age,” she said. “I enjoy hospice and assisting people who want to die in their home. Our location works with hospice agencies in the area and we love being able to help families through the process, not just the client. We service many veterans and those with Medicaid, and it’s very rewarding.”