Vonderlieth nursing care spans 35 years
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[October 21, 2008]
-- Present and former directors of nursing met for a short reunion
last Wednesday morning at Vonderlieth Living Center in Mount Pulaski.
Today (Oct. 21) Vonderlieth celebrates 35 years of providing quality
care to its residents and their families.
Stacy Hickey is the current director of nursing, and she, along
with Karen DaVault, the assistant director, welcomed former
directors Mary Brown, Alice Lee Cross and Elaine Sheaffer.
Alice Cross was the first of the five to serve at
Vonderlieth. One of her fond memories was coming in on a Saturday
and bringing her daughter, Laura, with her to play piano for the
residents. It was a highlight for Laura and the residents. Alice
recalls, as do the other ladies, being called upon to do many jobs
in a pinch. She was even pressed into service as the administrator
at one point, which service she performed until another
administrator could be hired.
Mary Brown followed several years
later. She served two years as director of nursing until she, too,
was ushered into the administrator's position and performed both
duties for six months. She was able to hire a replacement for
herself as director of nursing, and she remained administrator for
11 more years. Elaine Sheaffer was hired by Brown as her replacement
and the two worked together until Sheaffer resigned six years later.
The first assistant director of nursing was hired during
Sheaffer's term. The regulations were becoming more stringent and
numerous. "We went to Springfield a lot to try to figure out what
they wanted us to do,” she remembers.
“It was a lot of work."
Brown and Sheaffer's time in the
building was also marked by practical jokes. One of the more
elaborate jokes on Brown goes like this: She came to work one
morning and was told that her entire nursing staff had resigned. She
opened her office door to find dozens of resignation letters on the
floor. As she turned to go address the problem, Dr. Borgerson, an
original board member, approached her. When she reported the
situation to him, he encouraged her to take care of the problem
herself. Fortunately, the nursing staff jumped out of hiding at this
moment …. it was an April Fool's joke. She still isn't laughing very
hard, nor will she ever forget Dr. Borgerson's part in it.
[to top of second column]
Karen DaVault and Stacy Hickey began their responsibilities
together. "She talked me into it," Stacy reports. Karen quickly
agrees. "I wasn't going to do it by myself. Stacy is really good
with staff and we balance each other well." Karen was lured to
Vonderlieth by Mary Brown. "I wasn't ever going to work in a nursing
home," she says, "but once I visited, I changed my mind."
Throughout the 35 years, and the variety of leadership styles,
Vonderlieth has remained an outstanding provider of care. When asked
what makes Vonderlieth stand out, the ladies responded quickly:
"Giving excellent care." "A homelike atmosphere." "The board makes
sure the facility is kept in great shape. They keep it nice." Stacy
summed up the most important quality very well. "We have great
staff. There is a lot of interaction between the residents and
staff. The workers often become very attached to the residents and
their families. It's like family."
Vonderlieth Living Center will host an open house on Sunday from
2 to 4 p.m. The public is invited to attend.
[Text from news release received]