Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Ira Friddle, RN, BSN 4309

Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation™ - #healthynurse Spotlight Series - Ira Friddle, RN, BSN


Nurse finds his work home after recovering from a major injury.

Life doesn’t always go as planned.
You can be celebrating something wonderful and exciting, like the birth of a baby, and face a debilitating setback at the same time. It’s how you overcome the setback that speaks volumes to who you are as a person.

Ira Friddle is no stranger to this type of scenario. In 2018, he welcomed his newborn son into the world with his wife. Shortly after, the home health agency he worked for was purchased by another company, which made his future there uncertain. To add more fuel to the fire, he was involved in an accident that broke multiple bones in his feet, leaving him disabled temporarily.

The accident completely crushed his right calcaneus (heel bone), which had to be surgically repaired. It also broke his talus in the left ankle. Both ankles were in casts for several weeks, followed by orthotic boots for several more weeks. That meant he was unable to work and without health insurance for himself and his family.

It was a challenging time, but Ira had faith. After 5 months, he recovered from his injuries and found work again as a home health nurse at a different company. He loves the work/life balance and freedom that home health nursing provides compared to his previous positions working 12-hour shifts.

“My lifestyle and my overall health got better because I chose to continue my work in home health,” said Ira. “I get to make my own schedule, which gives me more time to be with my family, and that allows me to make them the priority.”

Leaning on Faith
a7cb8de48436bb2a1597c2b238b74199-huge-irIn good times and bad, Ira prioritizes his faith, mental health, and hobbies. Throughout his disability and loss of work, Ira leaned on his Christian beliefs and relationship with God to make it through. Today, he knows God played a huge role in helping him recover from his injuries and find his “work home,” allowing him to support his family again.

This trusting relationship with God, along with having a healthy work/life balance, continues to have a positive impact on Ira’s mental health. Making time for hobbies is also important. He loves woodworking and creates keepsake and jewelry boxes, cases, and plaques.

His woodworking projects often take several weeks to complete, depending on how intricate they are. Ira also plays competitive billiards and often travels to area tournaments to compete.

All these things help Ira to be the best nurse, father, and husband he can be — no matter what life throws his way.

“Mental health is the foundation of all other types of health,” says Ira. “If your mental health isn’t there, you’re automatically not going to be as healthy in other ways.”

Family Man First, Nurse Second
Most importantly, Ira believes it’s pivotal that he doesn’t define himself by his career. Even before his injuries, family and God have taken priority for Ira. Being a nurse makes Ira a better family man and father to his children, but it doesn’t drive him. Instead, his children and wife drive him — and his nursing is more an avenue to provide for them.

“Being a nurse has given me a mindset to be a better dad,” says Ira. “I’m a team player at work and I’ll help out as much as I can — but being a good father and being available for my wife and kids is the most important thing.”

And that’s what keeps Ira healthy and happy as a home health nurse.

Ira’s Advice
Remember that you are more than your career, and you deserve to prioritize yourself. Here are Ira’s recommendations:
  • Make time to stop and reflect daily: Each day, evaluate yourself. Consciously take the time to think about your physical, mental, and emotional health.
  • Take care of yourself: Your needs matter. Prioritize them.
  • Your personal life is important: Don’t put your career over your family and personal life — it should be the other way around. Your career is a means to having a good personal life.

Ira Friddle, RN, BSN, is a home health case manager at CenterWell Home Health.

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Blog #healthynurse Spotlight 01/20/2023 10:53am CST

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The #healthynurse Spotlight is a shout out to nurses who are making changes in their lives to improve their health and wellness. You can too! Read their stories for inspiration here.