Saint Therese employs more than 250 certified nursing assistants at its four senior living communities in the Twin Cities. And today, on Nursing Assistants Day, we want to recognize them for the absolutely vital role they play in the lives of the seniors in our care.
By definition, nursing assistants provide the direct, hands-on care to residents in our skilled nursing, assisted living and transitional care units, and work under the direction of our registered nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs). But that rather stale description misses the human connection and bond that is created between the residents and the nursing assistants.
“We are thankful that we have the group of nursing assistants we have, because they care deeply and are authentic about what they do,” said Christine DeLander, executive director at Saint Therese of New Hope. “There’s nothing as important as having consistent caregivers. They know the residents very, very well.
The New Hope campus has more than 110 nursing assistants (three are shown above), and many with long tenures in the company. While all we talked to said they became nursing assistants because they like to help people, they also echoed De DeLander’s sentiments that it’s much more than that.
Lovetta Sikely has been a nursing assistant for 17 years and says she knows the residents look forward to her being there each day. “I’m happy as long as they are happy,” she said.
Monyou Taye, a 15-year veteran at New Hope, said she has learned from the residents because they know a lot about life, and she’s taken in lessons about caring for her kids among other things. “I have a bond with my residents,” she said. “It’s not just about the care, it’s about becoming family.”
This group has an innate appreciation for seniors and seems proud of the role they play in the residents’ lives.
Said Martee Yalley, who’s been at New Hope for seven years, “It’s about showing love. I love caring for older people.”
The New Hope campus thanked their team of nursing assistants earlier this week with pizza and other goodies, for all three work shifts.
“I’m so happy to be the one taking care of our residents; it’s about the blessings,” added Valerie Autridge, an employee for four years.
“Without them we would not be able to fulfill our mission, because they are front and center. They are our first line. They do the hands on care that nobody else does and get to know the residents in a very intimate way,” DeLander added.