Joe & Bella is growing! Taylor Thoen, a former Registered Nurse with experience in acute care and geriatrics, recently joined our team to lead Joe & Bella’s customer-success team. You can learn a bit more about Taylor below. Even better, chat or call into the website and say hi!
Background and Education:
I'm from Ames, Iowa, home of the Cyclones! I went to Iowa State University, where I earned a bachelor's in biology. And while I was there, I took a liking to my human anatomy, physiology, biology classes. My dad is in the medical field as well, and so I started looking into various medical professions and decided to pursue a nursing degree. I got some early experience in the field of nursing as a CNA and knew I wanted to pursue a career in this field, so I went to Creighton University, where I did an accelerated one-year nursing program as I continued to work as a certified nursing assistant.
I learned soon how challenging a job nursing and providing care can be on the professional level. Along with another nurse, we oversaw 20-30 patients, and we were responsible for getting them ready for their day, including helping them in the bathroom and getting dressed. It was often a challenge to help get some patients dressed. Looking back on that experience, it really highlighted the need for a brand like Joe & Bella that helps make this process so much easier. The experience of both the nursing staff and patients would have been so much easier if we had adaptive clothes that both cut down on dressing time while making the process much more dignified and less painful.
"After receiving my bachelors degree in nursing from Creighton, I took a full--time nursing job at a rehabilitation hospital. I worked with both pediatric patients and older adults. A lot of patient's here were going through a massive change with their health. This can mean dramatic changes to both their cognitive and physical abilities. Adaptive clothing would have been so helpful to them! Some families would go out and find clothes that made changing easier, like snap-on pants or tank-tops with one of the shoulder-straps removed.
After working at the rehab hospital, I moved out to Denver. I accepted a position at a stroke certified hospital on a cardiac unit. Here, I was able to grow my knowledge and gain invaluable hands-on experience. I learned a lot. I worked with a lot of patients who were recovering from open-heart surgery, pacemaker implantation, and those recovering from strokes and traumatic brain injuries. And again, few, if any of these patients were equipped with proper adaptive apparel that would have really helped them manage their pain levels and mobility.
I once had a patient who came in with a heart-rhythm problem known as atrial fibrillation with rapid ventricular response. It's when your heart rate gets too high. So, it was a pretty intense situation. We needed to get the heart rate down and back to a good rhythm. The patient was just the sweetest man I've ever encountered. I was able to take the time to sit down and talk to him and actually learn about his past and provide that holistic care, taking care of every aspect of the patient’s needs. And I was able to explain to him everything we were doing, and he just had a smile on his face and was the kindest person. I was really sad to see him go. But happy, of course, since we got his heart rate under control and he was ready to resume a healthy life.
A couple of weeks later, another nurse told me that there's a man at the nurses’ station who asked to see me. And there was my heart patient! He was sitting at the nurse's station with his walker in front of him, and he had a big box of doughnuts in his lap to show for me. Yes, there was no shortage of challenges at this job (and a lot of challenging patients). And when going through those challenges, I would always think back to this patient and how big of a difference I was able to make in his life during a terrifying time. That’s why I wanted to be a nurse in the first place -- to make a real difference and provide help to those who need it.
I spent a lot of time helping my patients, particularly older adults, change in and out of their clothes. It was painful for me to watch them try, and I know it was painful and difficult for them as well. God bless people's families for bringing them nice clothes at the hospital. Patients want to wear the clothing that they wear at home – that make them feel “normal.” But, for some, those clothes unfortunately just aren’t functional anymore. I had this patient who had difficulty moving pretty much all her limbs and joints. It was so stressful and painful putting her shirt on. I had to stretch it out like seven times its length in order to get her stiff limbs in the small openings. The process was painful and undignified, trying to force her head into a small opening with her arms bent at uncomfortable angles.
A lot of these patients don't want to go through the annoying process of putting on a bra because it’s just so difficult. So that means many female patients are often exposed when they need nursing help getting a shirt on. I wish these patients had access to adaptive bras and shirts that could have made this entire process so much easier.
I also helped patients with incontinence challenges. It’s often emotionally difficult or stigmatizing to already be wearing incontinence products and needing assistance changing them. But doing so while wearing non-adaptive clothing just makes it even more frustrating. Adaptive pants speed up the entire changing process and help the patient remain in less exposed positions.
I’m so excited to be working at Joe & Bella. It’s great to join a team that’s so passionate about helping others and so mission-driven. I also immediately saw the need for Joe & Bella and how these products can truly make life so much better for so many people. I wanted to be part of doing that.
If you call into our website’s customer-service number or type into our chat box on the website, odds are you’ll be talking to me! I do love talking to people and am happy to be on the front lines of Joe & Bella, helping our customers find the best solutions for their loved ones. But I’ve got a bunch of other responsibilities on my plate as well. I’m working hard on keeping the website organized and finding fantastic new products that our customers will love. I’m also working with our design team on our first line of original Joe & Bella apparel items.
So, when I’m not working, I love most anything outdoors. Hiking is huge for me. It’s kind of what drew me to Denver in the first place. I’m also a big bookworm. I like to bake, though I haven't been able to do so as much since I moved back to Iowa. I play tennis for fun, though I need to try and play a bit more. And maybe I need to be playing video games a bit less!
I am so thankful to have joined this amazing team and that I have this opportunity to be part of all the great things happening at Joe & Bella!