Compassion personified: National Nurses Week

Hillcrest Healthcare’s highly trained and dedicated staff provides person-centered care, respecting and celebrating the lives of those we serve. Since the beginning of the pandemic, our CNAs and nurses have become more than just caregivers – they are the lifelines for residents – and they’ve stepped up and leaned in to rise to the challenges.

“Our nursing staff has served as patients’ family members since residents couldn’t see their own,” said Kim Mountz, director of clinical services at Hillcrest Healthcare. “They’ve held hands and cried with patients, figured out how to bring activities to patient rooms, been encouragers for residents – just everything. They’re a wonderful group of folks.”

Kim shared thoughts about the directors of nursing and the entire nursing staff during an interview for National Nurses Week. The week provides an opportunity to celebrate and recognize nurses across all disciplines and is celebrated annually on May 6-12.

Interesting fact: National Nurses Week ends on May 12 in honor of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. She is considered the founder of modern nursing.

Kim’s role as director of clinical services involves observation and oversight of all clinical systems and processes, teaching, mentoring, coaching and providing any support that the clinical staff may need. Her job is to make sure the systems and processes in place are working to produce excellent clinical outcomes. When she makes medical rounds, she makes observations and educates as she goes.

She loves the camaraderie of the Hillcrest team, saying, “I could call anyone right up to the president of the company if I have a question or concern. No one is off limits. It’s a breath of fresh air.” She’s worked with Hillcrest communities for more than a decade.

Directors of Nursing
Each Hillcrest community has a director of nursing that manages nursing departments.

Donna Kelley serves as assistant administrator and director of nursing at Beverly Park. She recently completed her administrator in training (AIT) program and is a licensed administrator.  

Ellen Lamkey is director of nursing at Island Home and is active in community activities and industry organizations, including serving as president of Tennessee Health Care Association (THCA). Serving at a smaller facility, she wears many hats.  

Shirley Crum is director of nursing at West Hills and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. She oversees long-term care, rehab and The Gardens on Lake Brook, the on-site hospice facility.

“Directors of nursing oversee the whole nursing department – the biggest department in long-term care,” Kim shared. “Part of those duties include managing, reviewing and education for all nursing operations. They set goals for the staff, help with hiring new associates and communicate with doctors, patients and families.”

The directors of nursing show passion for their work and the nurses they manage in many ways.

“Shirley has Candy Friday,” Kim said. “She buys candy bars for all the staff, puts it in her basket and goes around the facility thanking each associate for what they do and gives them a candy bar.

“Ellen finds way to show her staff that they’re important; for example, she gave each of them a thoughtful gift for National Nurses Week and took a little break to play games. And Donna shows her passion by listening to her staff – really taking the time to understand their concerns. She lists them on a board, then finds way to address them. Even little things can mean so much.”

National Nurses Week   
All three Hillcrest communities found special ways to celebrate nurses during National Nurses Week. Island Home took a fun game break – including a race with a roll of toilet paper between their knees and a “pill crush” simulation race with tic tac candy – and gave away prizes. Beverly Park did a similar game break, and West Hills provided lunch for the staff.

Kim reflected on the past year and how instrumental the entire Hillcrest nursing staff has been while navigating the pandemic.

“CNAs and nurses do the job because they CARE. It’s a hard job and it’s been extra hard over the last 14-15 months. They’ve endured twice-a-week COVID testing, multiple changes in procedures, the extra work associated with keeping patients engaged while separated, working in full PPE gear and more. They’ve been through a lot and they’ve been troupers. Our nurses have been true heroes throughout this.”

We encourage you to take a moment to thank the healthcare heroes in your life when you get a chance. If you are a passionate CNA or nurse and are looking to join an organization that puts people first, check out our open positions at our website careers page.