September 1

Shining a Spotlight on Nursing: Chapter Four

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

With 2020 designated as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Assembly, we have been shining a spotlight on the registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants at Gardant and the assisted living and memory care communities Gardant manages.

Most recently in the spotlight were Shannon Montgomery, Director of Nursing at Evergreen Village in Bloomington, Indiana, and Karen Sherly, Director of Nursing at Heritage Woods in Benton, Illinois.

Today, our focus is on Tausheauna Starks, R.N., B.S.N., who serves as Administrator of Churchview Supportive Living in Chicago, Illinois; and Deborah Denham, R.N., M.S.N., who the Vice President of Quality and Risk Management for Gardant.

 

Tausheauna Starks

Tausheauna Starks, Churchview Supportive Living

At what age did you decide to go into nursing?

18

What sparked your desire to become a nurse?

I was not sure I wanted to be a nurse. I knew I loved caring for people. I also loved the art of science and how the body works.

How did your career as a nurse start?

At age 17. I graduated from high school in January instead of June and was able to start a 13-month LPN program.

What do you find most satisfying about nursing?

Knowing the impact nursing has on the residents/patients we serve.

What motivated you to work in assisted living?

Most of my nursing career has been in long-term care. I was at a stage where I needed something where I was caring for residents but had more work/life balance.

What do you like best about working in an assisted living community?

Being able to care for residents and the family atmosphere.

When you are not working, what else might we find you doing?

My favorite things to do are walking, baking and crafting. Since the pandemic, I have started gardening and have a new love.

 

Deborah Denham

Deborah Denham, Gardant Vice President of Quality and Risk Management

At what age did you decide to go into nursing?

Right out of high school.

What sparked your desire to become a nurse?

At that time, women in our region could become a nurse, teacher or grocery check-out lady. By the way, check-out ladies made more than nurses at that time. I knew I could have a job anywhere in the world if I became a nurse. I was a nurse’s aide while in high school. I thought the nurses I worked with had a lot of backbone and assertiveness, which I had not seen prior to working in that setting.

How did your career as a nurse start?

I started in the intensive care unit. I was the first new graduate that our hospital put directly into the intensive care setting. I was a charge nurse within a year.

What do you find most satisfying about nursing?

The ability to read the puzzle that is the human being. I like being able to see the patient/resident as a whole to determine what the symptoms they are exhibiting might mean clinically and to help the physician understand what I am seeing and worried about. Also helping the patient and their families with the reality of illness.

What motivated you to work in assisted living?

I like helping people retain dignity. The people in assisted living have lived lives full of promise, heartache, challenges and experiences that we cannot fathom. I respect that. For the residents who are in the final chapter of their life story, I want to help them make it a great ending.

When you are not working, what else might we find you doing?

I love learning. I am learning about feng shui, cooking and wine. I love to clean and organize my house. Sometimes I read – mostly “whodunit” mysteries. I love the science behind it.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Nursing has added value to my life and shaped me personally. I am glad I chose this field and appreciate the path that I have been offered. Risk management in nursing is an entirely different way to look at caring for residents. My work helps shapes how we provide care and the practices to help keep residents and staff safe.

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