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Nurse spotlight: Amber Swarnes

Amber Swarnes’ spring wedding didn’t go according to plan.

When the venue she and her fiancé had reserved closed due to COVID-19, they decided to hold their ceremony on the grounds of Rolla Presbyterian Manor.

“We got married outside the dining area, so the residents would have something to look forward to,” Amber said.

Amber Swarnes married on the campus of Rolla Presbyterian Manor this spring after their wedding venue closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dining Services Director Carmen Payne made a cake for the wedding party and cupcakes for Assisted Living residents, about half of whom “attended” the ceremony, which they watched through the windows.

Marcia, Amber’s daughter, served as the flower girl.

Amber became a licensed practical nurse three years ago after studying at Rolla Technical College, but she also has years of experience as an aide.

“I fell in love with this work when I was working in an assisted living facility for adults with disabilities,” she said. Later she worked as an aide at Rolla Presbyterian Manor and enjoyed the community so much she decided to return as a nurse.

Amber comes from a family of health care workers. Her mother was an LPN and her father worked as an imaging technician. Her younger sisters, Bethany and Megan, also work in the medical field. One is a nurse, and the other is in medical research.

“When I decided to advance my career, it made sense to follow in my mother’s footsteps by becoming an LPN,” she said.

Amber began working nights in the health care neighborhood, but shifted to days when a position came open.

Since the pandemic began, work has been “a little bit insane,” she admitted. “I’m grateful for the protections we’re providing, but it’s hard for the residents.”

Her conviction that every resident deserves good care keeps her going. A little bit of decompression after each shift helps, too.

In her free time, Amber plays with her daughter, cross stitches, and goes camping. She and her husband are also nearly done with renovating their house, which they have been working on all year. They have put in new flooring and walls plus a new kitchen and bathroom.  

“Whatever keeps me busy,” Amber laughed. “I’m a little busybody.”

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