Rhode Island Nurses In Action: Lori Fiocco
Rhode Island Nurses In Action
ADN: CCRI, c/o 1998
Why did you choose nursing?
As a child growing up, my life revolved around religion and church and my dream growing up was to be a nun. Well, I met my husband and realized my goals had to change. However, I still wanted to help others and continue my spiritual journey to find a career that fulfilled that dream, and that’s when I decide to venture into nursing, helping others, with a specific interest in the vulnerable populations.
What was your career path?
My first job related to the nursing profession was a 14-person group home, formerly an old convent, and that’s when my spiritual calling came, and I realized that nursing was my mission. At the early age of 19 also worked at West Bay as a direct support professional, worked my way through the chain of command, and was promoted to assistant manager while attending nursing school and tending to my family. I graduated from CCRI at 24 years old and moved on to Avatar group home specialists. I worked closely with the Developmental Disability Nursing Association to help form policies for the direct support professionals. My strength in policy formation and regulation within the Developmentally Disabled community brought me to my current position at Spurwink as their nurse/ medical director of their 7 group homes and the Spurwink school.
Our group home community and staff were hit very hard during Covid-19, and the communication and guidelines of our DD community and Department of Health are ever changing. In response to this problem, I created a Covid 19 task force committee that is still meeting weekly to discuss Covid-19 related policies and issues among our team. I am also a CPR instructor, training all of the staff and new employees of the Spurwink community. My successful career proves that, through hard work, learning from experience, and methodical advancement, advances in your career path are possible (but not overnight).
What do you find most satisfying about your current nursing role / activity?
It’s very satisfying being in a role where you are helping people with disabilities that cannot advocate for themselves. I owe my strength and years of service to my faith in God for guiding me and giving me the power to do this for as long as I have. I use my spirituality that brought me here and my connection to God as an asset that compliments my service and dedication to my clients and co-workers. They teach me to count my blessings every day.
What is a non-work- related activity that brings you joy? I love spending time with my family in my spare time, but caretaking is still a priority outside work. In my current position, I am on call every day and night twenty-four-seven, which often takes away time with my husband and children. Still, they have always been so kind and understanding of this, knowing that I try my best to balance my life and work environment, but it’s not always perfect.
What is one thing you don't think the general public understands about Nursing generally or about your field of nursing specifically?
Nurses who care for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities are their voices for those who cannot get the help they need. Working in the human service industry is a challenging career path. I have seen many people come in full force dedicated to our clients only to get burned out quickly.
Lori Fiocco is the Director of Nursing at Spurwink-RI. She is eager to talk with nurses about Residential (group home) nursing and care of persons with Disabilities. She can be reached at Lorifiocco@spurwinkri.org.
To read more of these amazing interviews, visit RI State Nurses Association (ANA- RI) and look under the Membership tab- Nurses In Action folder. We are amazing and diverse and EVERYWHERE!