National Nurses Week: Celebrating Our Heroes
This National Nurses Week we want to spotlight some of the incredible nurses that both work and live at our communities. Our nurses work every day to enrich the lives of our residents, to care for them and to protect them. The COVID-19 pandemic of the past year has shown the world the important role nurses play in keeping our loved ones healthy and save. More than ever they are committed to advancing health and wellness in our communities, and we are so grateful.
Read on to meet some of our nurses and learn more about their experiences. We are so thankful for the many years served and the lives saved thanks to their dedication and compassion.
Mary Anne Rola (National Nurse)
Mary Anne began her career as a nurse in the Philippines and now serves as Enlivant's National Nurse, providing education and guidance to our community leaders. "In my early years, I was...providing bedside care, one patient at a time. But in this role, I'm able to make an impact on many lives," she says. Mary Anne also credits her Philippine roots for inspiring her to work with seniors, saying, "In the Philippines we take care of our elderly; and I would like to share that with other people."
Mary Anne loves hearing the many stories seniors share with her, including several veteran residents who have connected her over their served time in the Philippines during WWII. "I could not even imagine that someday I will be in this country...talking about our history and that person I'm connected to will know about our history and say how they helped and learn about our culture as well," she says.
Of the nursing profession, Mary Anne maintains that this line of work isn't a job. "It's a human connection, it's a commitment," she says, "It's a commitment that no matter what, wherever you came from, whatever your race or religion is – you need help, I'm here to take care of you."
Janice Kendrick (Care Services Manager, Lexington Place)
Janice Kendrick's grandfather was the first to know her destiny, telling her from a young age, "You're going to make a good nurse one day!” Janice graduated with her nursing degree in 2004 from Tri-County Technical College with a specialty in Long-Term Care. Since then, what she's learned the most is to expect the unexpected! "The relationships you develop and memories you create add to the quality of someone's life every day and every encounter. You make all the difference,” she says.
Jason McDowell (Executive Director, Park Creek Place)
Jason's compassion for others started early, when he spent summers volunteering at American Red Cross Military Hospitals. One of his favorite memories is caring for Rehabilitation patient recovering from a car accident. Jason not only oversaw her progress, he threw her a special prom at the facility so she didn't miss a thing. She went on to recover fully and graduate college. "No matter how far you go in your career, you always reflect back on why you became a nurse and hold onto those roots,” he says.
Gladys Caroline Melson (Resident, Lanier Place)
Gladys proudly served as a Navy Medic in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. She trained at the Bremerten Air Station on Whidbey Island and graduated in 1964. She fondly remembers working mostly with children and babies and went on to have children and grandchildren of her own. Although Gladys has worked hard her whole life, she is known around Lanier Place to have a goofy and fun sense of humor!
Martha Malinzak (Resident, Marquis Gardens Place)
Martha's story starts in 1945, when she served in the Cadet Nurse Corp. program at Uniontown Hospital. She went on to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with her BSN and MS-ED in 1950. Most of her career was spent in the Operating Room at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. "Frank Sinatra was a patient there and I was able to visit with him in his hospital room,” Martha says as a highlight of her career!
Patrick Jones (Care Services Manager, Southridge Place)
Patrick graduated as an LPN in 1999 and has since discovered his passion serving seniors. He says, "They have given to society and I'd like to think I can help bring some joy and comfort towards the end of their life.” There have been many times during his career where Patrick stayed late after a shift to console residents whose families could not be there in person; in fact, many residents do consider Patrick family. This type of compassion makes all the difference!
Natali Turner (Resident, Lexington Place)
Natali began her career as a hospital aide. When the hospital announced the staff would transition to primary nurses only, she knew she wasn't going to miss her opportunity. In 1976, Natali graduated as a Licensed Professional Nurse to make it official – but she didn't stop there. She proceeded to earn her ADN in 1984 and a Master's degree in Nursing Education. Natali's true passion lies in teaching, and her favorite memories are those of her first students graduating from nursing school.
Kathleen Quigley (Care Services Manager, Park Creek Place)
When Kathleen had her eyes on joining the Rockettes in New York City, her father suggested she try nursing. She says it was the best (and only time) she listened to him. Since graduating with her degree, Kathleen also went on to earn her Master of Science in Nursing and has even inspired her own daughter to become a nurse too! Kathleen has developed deep relationships with her residents, including a WWII veteran who shared late night stories of battle with her. She treasures a crochet rosary he made especially for her.
Mattie Garrett (Resident, Dorset Place Memory Care)
Mattie's mother was her biggest cheerleader, encouraging her to become a nurse from a young age. For much of her career, Mattie worked with young children, and some of her favorite memories are helping them overcome their illnesses and adversities. To anyone considering a nursing career, Mattie says, "Go for it! And don't let anything stop you!”
Kiara Wood (Care Services Manager, Lexington Place)
When Kiara graduated in 2018 with a nursing specialty in Geriatrics, she knew she'd be serving America's seniors. She's since already seen great advancements in telehealth during her career. Kiara's decision to become a nurse was born out of the joy she gets from taking care of others. She says: "It's challenging but it's worth it, knowing you make such an impact.”
Donna Kramer (Assistant Care Services Manager, Park Creek Place)
There was never a question of what Donna Kramer would do in her career. She always wanted to be a nurse and help the sick and maintain the dignity of seniors. Donna graduated from Upper Bucks and has worked in skilled care, personal care, and surgical units in hospitals. She is a true team player, always making time to lend a hand to residents or team members.
Megan Gronenthal (Care Services Manager, Terrace Place)
Megan graduated in 2009 with a specialty in Geriatrics. She has always been drawn to caring for people but was excited to work with seniors in particular for the incredible stories they tell. For aspiring nurses, Megan says, "Work in the field prior to actually becoming a nurse. Start off as a CNA so you know what to expect after graduating.”
Barbara Watson (Resident, Lexington Place)
Barbara was a Registered Nurse who graduated from Old Columbia Hospital. Her favorite part of becoming a nurse was learning more about the profession, and she has seen many advancements since her career began. For those considering nursing, Barbara advises, "You must love people!”