Employee Spotlight: Doreen Shell

Doreen Shell has been a nurse her entire career. She has worked in a variety of healthcare settings throughout her career, but knew little about the disease of addiction prior to coming to Fairbanks 11 years ago.

“I’ve been blown away by how much I’ve learned,” the Registered Nurse said.

Shell is an assistant nurse manager at Fairbanks. A nurse for 41 years, she started at the hospital in her hometown of New Castle after college. After 19 years there, Shell worked for the Indiana Department of Corrections before seeing a newspaper ad for a job opening at Fairbanks and applying.

While her supervisory role entails many audits, meetings and paperwork, she still gets to work on the floor and interact with patients and fellow nurses.

“I always try to get a pulse on how things are going every day,” Shell said. “Most of the nurses are half my age now, so they keep me young.”

The job isn’t without its challenges, just as it is for those recovering from addiction.

“It’s not unusual for patients to express frustration, anger and sadness. Nurses often get the brunt of that,” Shell said. “The biggest thing is keeping in mind that it’s not about us, it’s about the patient. You just have to keep an even keel and understand that’s part of the process they’re going through.”

With that also comes many success stories, which Shell ultimately relishes.

“I’ve had former patients make a trip back here just to tell me they’re still doing well and how much of a difference I made in their lives while they were here,” she said. “Those really stand out to me. It makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile.”