Leading the Secure Memory Care Unit at Maine Veterans’ Home in South Paris can’t be done alone. It takes a team culture of care, according to unit RN Manager Mary Hersom.
Mary’s team approach led to her nomination and selection for MVH’s 2017 corporate value award, Lead the Way.
Maine Veterans’ Homes Lead the Way Award
Mary believes everyone who works on her unit should be included when a decision needs to be made, from CNAs to housekeepers to dietary staff. All ideas are welcomed. She does not ask others to do anything she is not willing to do herself.
She fosters an expectation of teamwork in all. She sets the bar high for the standard of care each and every resident should receive.
“It takes a team to take care for these folks, and that’s what we give them,” Mary says. “Whether beds need made or an activity requires 1-on-1 with residents, all team member understand the unique needs of the residents and are willing to chip in.”
This team and family atmosphere is what Mary loves most about her job. Her nomination calls her a true leader, one who is followed because she is respected, inspirational and motivating.
Caring for Those with Dementia at Maine Veterans’ Home
Mary has been in the nursing field for 15+ years, having worked her way up from CNA to LPN to RN Manager. She has been with Maine Veterans’ Homes for nine years and is now a certified dementia practitioner through the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners.
Mary points out that all employees are trained to follow Maine Veterans’ Homes resident-centered approach to dementia care. “Our residents have unique needs, with dementia and as a veteran,” she says.“We listen to what they need. We all know we may need to go to their world. We can not bring them to ours.”
It’s not uncommon for dementia units to face higher levels of staff turnover due to the difficulties and stress in caring for those with dementia. However, that is not the case with Mary’s unit. She has team members who have been there 15-20 years, some having started as summer employees while in school.
Mary believes the strength in her team comes from truly loving what they do. “There is no greater honor than caring for these guys. They cared and served for us. It’s our turn to give back.”
Like a true leader, Mary’s involvement does not end at the facility level. She leads a community dementia support group, does educational outreach and teaches dementia care to local CNA students.
Mary was also chosen to receive the 2017 Excellence in Long-Term Care Award from the Maine Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program for her “extraordinary level of care-giving, attention to consumer rights and leadership.” She was nominated by South Paris Administrator Bradford Peck. The award was presented in early September by Maine’s First Lady Ann LePage.
Maine Veterans’ Homes Core Values
At Maine Veterans’ Homes, six employees are nominated and selected each year for exemplifying the organization’s core values:
- Lead the Way: We must continue to lead the way among the nation’s state veterans’ homes by shaping the future of long-term care and rehabilitative services.
- Honesty and Integrity: First and foremost, we must always strive to do what is right and in the best interest of our residents.
- Veterans Are Unique: We must recognize the special sacrifice that our veterans and family members have made in service to our nation and that they are most deserving of our very best efforts to meet their needs.
- Respect: We must respect and preserve the dignity of each person – resident, family, visitor, volunteer and employee.
- Excellence: We must strive to attain the highest level of quality and satisfaction in delivering person-centered care with competence, compassion and commitment.
- Team: We must understand that only through teamwork, communication and cooperation will we achieve our goals.
Working at Maine Veterans’ Homes
At Maine Veterans’ Homes, we feel very strongly that our purpose and work in providing care to veterans and their family members is a special privilege and calling.
The manner in which each employee of Maine Veterans’ Homes provides our service is the key to our organizational success. Understanding this, Maine Veterans’ Homes is committed to maintaining an excellent workplace where employees are valued and support our mission to meet the long-term health care needs the veterans of Maine deserve.
Maine Veterans’ Homes has earned the reputation as a leader among the nation’s system of state veterans’ homes as well as private long-term care and rehabilitative care providers. Find out more about working at Maine Veterans’ Homes.