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Mindi Gressley and her coworkers photographed for the September nurse of the month

September Nurse of the Month: Abundance in Giving in Long Term Care

Mindi Gressley, LPN, of Heritage Pointe of Huntington, followed her aunt and grandmother’s footsteps to become a nurse. Her clinical experience as a nurse and CNA makes her an excellent educator. She’s become an invaluable go-to for the Director of Nursing to help train new nurses and CNAs. Her personality and experience make her an excellent role model for new nurses in training – and being one herself, who better?

Why Nursing?

Mindi grew up with two grandfathers sick with cancer and saw how caregivers made an impact on their lives from the stories they shared with family members. The real-life experience made such an impact – it gave her the inspiration to get her nursing license – she is eight years in now and all the while, in LTC!

Mindi is known for her friendliness to staff, residents and even contractors that come into the facility. She takes care of new residents and always makes time in her busy day to help others better understand a resident’s clinical profile and how residents best adjust to “home” life vs. life at an SNF.

What’s Most Rewarding about the Job?

Feelings are critical in the role because of the impact she makes on patients and families. She likes it when she is recognized by them outside the facility and adds “I feel like I have done something right. Sometimes smiling is all they need.” In a world where nurses are stretched thin, work hard, and new requirements have been thrown at them, Mindi maintains a positive attitude. Her bubbly personality is seen in all aspects when she checks in on long term residents – those transitioning from rehabilitation to long term care. It’s these residents that anticipate going home and tend to struggle most with LTC transitions.

What’s Special About Heritage?

“My aunt worked here. They were hiring in the kitchen and I was still in high school, after high school I would help for a few hours to prepare dinner and just got really close to the residents – they are like family. I just stuck with Heritage the whole time. I love it here, there is great teamwork, they work with you and are very accommodating and friendly. It’s my home away from home.”

Mindi provides a lot of emotional support for families of residents, whether they need grief support or cheering up. She is known to lighten the environment at Heritage and provides treatment that traditional medicine cannot: uplifting the soul.

Challenges

Mindi believes the hardest part of the job is losing a resident you’ve become close to and working with geriatrics. Nurses form great relationships with their patients and establish bonds and it is hard when a resident passes. Every patient has challenges, battles and health issues. Although nursing is incredibly challenging, just about every nurse has also admitted it is rewarding. Mindi says “When you come into a situation and it’s a challenging one, you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and push through those challenges. When you look back you can be proud of yourself for making it as far as you have. It’s super rewarding and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

When asked what the most important thing she’s learned in her career she said, “Be kind, patient and a good listener.”  Being supportive to patients is important to Mindi because many times that’s all they want…along with educating, supporting and advising those patients.

An All Time High?

She believes there may be misconceptions about nursingMindi says “they think it is an all-time high and I don’t think people know or understand the bad things that come with nursing. Not every person you take care of has positive result, so I guess education is what we are here for.” She takes time to educate patients and their families, and admits it is not always what they want to hear. “On the challenging days, I try not to give up. They inspire me to keep going. Patients have taught me friendship and to always just work through your struggles.”

Technology’s Impact

I feel technology makes it easier to navigate through and find all your information in one area without having to look through multiple finders or books.  I like that aspect of technology.  It’s nice that x-rays and labs are integrated with our system here, it’s convenient to look up results.

Recognition

Mindi says she loves geriatrics and has been all of her eight year career to date. She wants to go back to school to get her RN and has always dreamed of being a Labor and Delivery Nurse – two opposite ends of the spectrum – geriatrics and babies – parallels in the two most vulnerable populations.

When asked about her nomination Mindi shared she was honored, excited, and shocked to learn she was nominated for PointClickCare’s Nurse of the Month. It gave her a “really good feeling. “But what advice would she give someone considering nursing? She offered this “The healthcare field is super challenging but in it you also find great reward. There are so many options for someone that would want to be in the field, and it’s a truly diverse area- you are always so useful to people and that just makes you feel really good!

September 2, 2020