Penny Perry-Bradley: An LPN who sees her patients as family

Published 4:07 pm Friday, May 1, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
A call came in on Thursday morning to the Elizabethton Star. A proud son wanted to see if his mother’s story, and her birthday, could be shared.
When Penny Perry-Bradley, a licensed practical nurse, picked up the phone Thursday afternoon, she was surprised to say the least. Bradley was preparing for her next shift, where she often works 12 hours or more. She works at two nursing homes, Hill View Health and Rehab in Elizabethton and the Courtyard Senior Living in Johnson City, and is also a mother and grandmother. The following day, Friday, she would turn 60 years old.
Recounting her story, Bradley said she became a young mom at the age of 15 to her son, Jerry Pierce, who called earlier in the day, and was unable to finish high school.
“I had my son at 15 and wasn’t able to finish high school,” she said. “I got my diploma through the Education Directive. Like homeschool you do it at home and send it in to have it graded. So that’s how I got my high school diploma. It was hard. But I made it through and I was proud of myself.”
Bradley, who had always wanted to be a nurse, went on to work continuously, and eventually had two more children. She said she never had time to be able to go back to school, always working. Some of her jobs over the years included a sewing factory, Mapes and Alemite. Following being laid off, Bradley finally made the decision to pursue education as a certified nursing assistant, or CNA.
She said during this time, she found out there were LPN classes also being held, and ultimately chose to do both. During her clinicals, she realized her love of working with the elderly.
“When I was doing clinicals as a CNA I just fell in love with the elderly,” she said. “When I went to LPN school they asked me what I would like to do, where I would like to work, and I said I wanted to work in a nursing home. They asked if I was crazy and I said no, I just loved it. I mean you fall in love with them, you can’t help it, it’s like taking care of older kids.”
Bradley graduated from nursing school at the age of 50. She has been working with the elderly ever since.
She said she loves her work, often being described as babying her patients by coworkers. Bradley explained she cares for her patients as though they are her family, because to her they are her family.
In light of COVID-19, Bradley described increased precautions and vigilance at her places of work. She also said she is doing her best to keep patients in good spirits, some of whom have asked where their families are during this time.
While she spends many hours working with her patients, Bradley wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I enjoy being around them,” she said. “It’s just like being around your family at the same time. I don’t always get to go out and do things with my real family, but the family I work with, I can be around them every day.”
Bradley’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. Her son could not express enough how proud he is of his mother.
“My mother is just an amazing woman,” said Pierce. “She’s so humble and extremely hardworking. Working two jobs at two nursing homes. I’ve seen her cry so many times after losing patients. She even takes them food every year as Christmas presents.”
To his mom, he wished her the very best birthday, and said he, his siblings and her grandchildren love her so much.
Bradley will have her birthday off to see her children and celebrate. She said she doesn’t feel her age, and noted how fast time has flown. On her job, she couldn’t say enough how she loves it.
“It’s a job you can’t help but let get to you,” Bradley said. “I enjoy them, I really do.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox