Hometown Heroes: CRVNA’s Melissa Reep has added emotional support to medical expertise

  • Melissa Reep of the Concord Regional Visiting Nurse Association helps families navigate the complex medical system. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 12/17/2020 8:55:00 AM
Modified: 12/17/2020 8:54:50 AM

Melissa Reep was never particularly set on becoming a nurse.

While most of her high school friends in Concord were getting ready to enter the job market straight out of school, Reep’s mother made her stay home and write college essays. Her guidance counselor told her to put down nursing on her application.

“There’s a shortage and they’re taking everybody,” the guidance counselor said.

But when Reep entered her first anatomy and physiology class at the University of New Hampshire, the profession seemed to fit her perfectly. She watched in awe as her professor drew intricate illustrations of the heart complete with valves and arteries without even glancing at her notes. She ran to class early just to get a front-row seat.

After 18 years working with the Concord Regional Visiting Nurses Association, better known as the VNA, Reep feels she’s found her place.

“Nursing was not on my radar,” she said. “It was just the right place at the right time and the right set of circumstances. It certainly feels absolutely right to me now.”

During the pandemic, she has been busier than ever. She said while many have been hesitant about going to the doctor’s office, they still need somebody to care for them, which, she thinks, has driven up the call volume.

Reep drives around Bow checking in on a variety of patients with diverse ages and needs. One might be in their mid-50s who just needs help changing his bandages. Another could be a 70-year-old woman living alone who needs reminders to take her medication.

To those who nominated Reep, she has gone beyond what is required of her job by offering much needed emotional support during this tumultuous time. Reep said much of her job these days is dedicated to helping families navigate the complicated medical system. She takes the time to sit down with families and listen to their questions without phones ringing or numerous patients demanding her attention. Making what feels like a simple call to Reep can save the family hours of angst and confusion.

Reep said she has invested more time in her patients during the pandemic simply because the needs are greater.

“The pandemic doesn’t really care that somebody still has cancer and needs to get their cancer treatments,” she said. “Things for our patients have gotten more hectic and busier.”

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