Director of nursing feels right at homePublished 4:56am Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Anybody who has spent time at Grand Meadow Healthcare Center has likely seen Teresa Stewart.
The dedicated care professional has worked there since 1999 and within months became a certified nursing assistant. Now, she’s the director of nursing.
While her increased responsibility over the years has meant more administrative work and time behind a desk, Stewart still has a passion for the one-on-one care. She needs to get out of the office and move.
“I don’t wear dress clothes to work very often,” Stewart said Monday, clad in scrubs that matched her co-workers.
Grand Meadow Healthcare Center primarily serves elderly residents who have been discharged from hospitals, need rehabilitation, need pain management or can no longer live at their own homes.
“Anything that is needed once they are discharged from the hospital,” Stewart said.
The facility currently has 28 residents and can house 43. Stewart can’t remember anywhere near how many residents she’s seen in 14 years, but she has gotten to know plenty of them quite well. Joking and lightening the mood, discovering how each person prefers a certain routine or simply being there for someone are all parts of the job. After all, some of these residents see Stewart and the nursing staff almost every day. There needs to be a comfort level.
“We know our residents probably better than I know my parents,” Stewart said.
Clearly, Stewart’s supervisor saw her dedication and promoted Stewart to director of nursing.
“She generally cares for the people she works for,” said Megan Kleinsasser, executive director. “She knows the facility inside and out.”
Stewart has continuously advanced her career since the day she started. She attended Riverland Community College, became a CNA, got her Assisted Living Facilities certification, became an LPN, an RN and most recently director of nursing in 2011. Over time, she has become a problem solver, whether that means training, coming to work while on call or learning the needs of new residents.
Yet Stewart and her co-workers are always looking for ways to make their facility more efficient, so residents can receive more services where in some cases they’d have to go back to a hospital. One recent change included switching from paper logbooks to touchscreen computers.
“The goal is to catch things before they get out of control,” Stewart said.
Of course, with any career, challenges arise. Stewart is used to that.
“The first week, that’s where you see the challenging parts of learning them or what they like,” Stewart said about serving newcomers.
Still, things work themselves out. Soon enough, everybody feels at home.
“It feels like a huge family,” Stewart said.