Jessica Cagwin
2021 Nurse of the Year Awards: Home Care, Southeast

Jessica Cagwin, BS, RN, CCM

Jessica Cagwin is one of those nurses who join the profession for the right reason – wanting to genuinely help those in need by providing a higher standard of care. A versatile nurse, Jess has experience in many different settings, including a vascular ICU, but has found her true calling in home care and serving as a Director of Nursing where she can support and guide other caregivers. The BrightStar Care of S. Charlotte franchise owner says that Jess is never too busy to take a call or help others, always going above and beyond the call of duty. In addition to being genuinely sweet and patient, she is versatile and ready to take on any challenge, making her a vital part of the team. 

Nomination Letter

Written by Rampi Hijazin, Franchise Owner, BrightStar Care of S. Charlotte 

Jessica Cagwin, RN, joined our team as a Field Nurse and then transitioned into our Director of Nursing (DON) when an opportunity arose for the DON position. Jess is one the most genuinely sweet, kind and compassionate nurses I've ever met. She comes into the office smiling and cheerful each day, always looking at the bright side of things. Jess became a nurse 7 years ago as a second career after starting out in Finance/HR. She previously worked in a Vascular Intensive Care Unit and a Vascular Interventional Radiology office and then more recently for the past 5 years as a RN Case Manager for a National Healthcare Insurance Provider. 

As our Director of Nursing, Jessica is responsible for overseeing our nursing department and being a support service to our field staff (during initial orientation as well as ongoing education/training) and the clients that we serve. Jess prides herself on delivering quality care and also helps guide our team daily to provide quality care to those we take care of. She helps open new Personal Care and Skilled Care cases and does introduction/follow up calls to many of our new National Account clients to introduce our services and to let them know what to expect from our agency. She likes to also do any necessary skilled nursing visits herself to help support her team of nurses if they need a helping hand. 

Jess deserves this recognition because of the way she does her role and the effortless assistance she provides our clients/staff. I've personally worked with 100s of nurses over my 25+ year health care career. Jess is just a unique nurse who really shines above all the rest and is genuinely in our industry for the right reason – client advocacy and wanting to genuinely help those in need by providing a higher standard of care. Jess believes that it's her responsibility to go meet as many of our clients (new/existing) as well as follow up with our team to provide them the positive support that they need to be successful. Jess is such a valued asset to our team and has gone above and beyond repeatedly for our clients.  

Recently, she helped show a family member how to get their shower head changed out to a hand-held device and took the liberty of getting into their tub to show them exactly what they needed to do. Another example is how we've repeatedly heard Jess on calls with clients/families and staff to listen to their concerns. We have a dementia client whose wife was recently transferred to an Assisted Living while he remained in their home per their family's choice. He calls our agency daily, multiple times because he's been having a hard time dealing with the transition and often is confused about time and what's going on. Due to his health needs, we continue to care for him in the home and he has limited support from his adult children regarding the transition. Jess has spent hours over multiple days for the last for few months to listen to his concerns. Other nurses would say there were too busy to bother with his repeated calls, but Jess take it upon herself to pick up his calls when we see his number on our caller ID. Then there is the time that our web marketing accidently led to a bunch of nurse-triage calls from outside people not receiving care from us. You would think Jessica would just tell them, our nurse-triage service is for our existing clients only, but I’ve overheard Jessica patiently listen to people sharing their concerns about their health and though she doesn’t recommend what they should/shouldn’t do with their ailment, she does direct them to next steps that they should do to make sure they get the medical assistance that they need. She does this because she cares. That is a selfless nurse committed to helping others during their time of need.  

Jessica also has a way of being a resource for families. Recently she had two different family members calling about their loved one being placed on hospice and another where the client needed a referral to mental health support for his crippling depression. Jessica listened to their daughters express their challenges having to address their nuclear household needs plus taking care of their declining parents and she just gave so much of her time and caring ear to them. As an owner, it just filled my heart with so much pride and appreciation that she was my amazing team member! 

Lastly, with her extensive experience doing case management services, Jess is the first to be an advocate for our clients/families and will find resources or direct others towards services that can help them. She has placed numerous calls to case managers/insurance providers/doctor's offices to see if she can help get items orders or services in place for our clients. She does not say "no" and truly is in healthcare for the right reason. The other day, Jessica opened a new referral from the local hospital for a teach/train on antibiotics, weekly labs and picc line dressing change. Her role during this visit was to educate the client and his significant other on self-administering the medication via the client’s picc line. Jessica realized very quickly that this elder couple were not competent to do this treatment independently, daily. She stayed well over the allotted time of the visit to make sure she was supporting the family with the treatment and then calling the local hiring company to figure out a better solution for their needs. At the end, it was decided that the client would need to go to a rehab as the client’s significant other wasn’t comfortable and couldn’t safely address our client’s needs. They had declined going to a rehab as they wanted to go home but after having Jessica go over the pros/cons of events, they agreed to get the additional support they desperately needed. That is awesome patient care which is what families are looking for when you think of home care. 

Jess impacts our clients’ lives each day by the little things she does. By advocating for our clients, Jess has helped many of our clients who have lost some level of their independence regain control of their lives while staying home which is the purpose of home care services. She takes it upon herself to take time out of her business day, to provide an ear to clients/families/staff that need to talk and share their concerns and help get them the resources they need but might not know how to get. From her attention to detail with all that she does, she's helped to potentially divert many hospital visits and/or hospital readmissions. 

It's nurses like Jessica Cagwin, RN, that help BrightStar Care® owners like myself, feel a sense of honor and pride knowing that we have someone that gets why we got into the business.