Barbara Ernst, certified nursing assistant, with Rodney Nells

When Rodney Nells had to have a below-the-knee amputation due to wounds on his left leg, he needed rehabilitation and nursing care.


Nells, a 41-year-old field tech for an oil company, came to Payson Care Center in Payson, Arizona, on June 19, 2018. He could barely move when he first arrived, but his goal was to get walking again with his prosthesis. He had already had his right leg amputated in 2013.


“Rodney had a positive attitude to his situation,” said Ernestine Crank, wound care nurse, who worked with Nells both times. “He wanted to be able to walk on both his prostheses. He looked forward to therapy to build up his strength. Mostly, he was glad that his stump healed and he no longer had infection.”


Nells shared, “The nursing was great. They helped manage my pain and made sure I was comfortable and checked to see how I was doing.”


Five days a week, Nells took part in physical therapy, practicing strengthening exercises, using equipment like the SCIFIT® exercise machine, as well as balance.


“Therapy helped me get my strength back and keep it up by working with me, exercising and stretching and also walking with a walker,” said Nells. “They helped me get back on my feet and also worked with Hanger Clinic to get my prosthetic made.”


“Rodney worked very hard every session to achieve his goals,” said Sterling Hester, physical therapist assistant.


Barbara Ernst, certified nursing assistant, added, “He was always willing to do all of his therapy sessions and always had a positive attitude.”


Now, Nells is able to get around with his prosthetic leg and a cane, including over different surfaces, such as gravel, and manage steps. He returned home on Sept. 19.