In addition to being Gold Sponsors for the walk, the teams from Sprain and Adira are hoping to raise at least $1000 per team. We have a friendly competition going with #TEAMADIRA to see which facility can fundraise the most.
I am a very hands on Rehab Director and participate in every aspect of our residents care. I love what I do and take pride in my Rehab Department. I am active in the interview process of each therapist and make sure that they have qualities that I feel are vital for this profession and population: compassion, empathy, drive, sense of humor, respect, trust, accountability, integrity, are team players, and are here for the right reasons. I even do my best to match the resident to a therapist who I think they would work well with.
A funny thing some may not know about me is that I was hired in 1997, by the Director of Rehab…and little did I know that 13 years later, he would become my husband☺
This week in our Getting to Know You series, we would like you to meet our Director of Nursing, Amy Mendizabal.
Amy graduated “Cum Laude “ with a B.SN. from the University of Aquinas College of Nursing in the Philippines (now University of St. Thomas ). Soon after, she immigrated to the United States to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. She has had a long distinguished career in healthcare and her diverse experience makes her a valuable member of our team. Amy started as a Clinical Instructor and then went on to serve as a Charge Nurse, an RN Supervisor, an In-service Coordinator, Rehab Nursing Director and now Director of Nursing.
Amy has been with Sprain Brook Manor Rehab for eight years, which shows just how much she loves this facility and the staff she works with. While her daily commute is long, Amy is happy to make the trip and credits the management/ownership for their consistent support.
When I asked Amy to describe Sprain Brook Manor in three words, she said, “Resident’s best place.”
Next time you’re at Sprain Brook, swing by the second floor and say hello to Amy.
1. Hi Molly! We are so excited to have you on the Sprain Brook Manor team! Can you tell us a bit about your background and education?
I completed my Bachelor of Science in Applied Human Nutrition major in Dietetics, at Mount Saint Vincent University. I completed my internship at a rural hospital in Canada, where I gained experience in various settings of the hospital. Some of these clinical specialties included adolescent medicine, surgery, oncology, diabetes, nephrology, critical care, and long-term care. Once I finished my internship, I went on to work as a community-based Registered Dietitian, where I worked with chronic disease prevention groups, to increase their knowledge and understanding of basic nutrition theories. In addition to this, I provided nutrition counselling to clients with various health conditions. Although I loved working on the preventative and promotional side of dietetics, I was missing the clinical and interdisciplinary aspect. That is why I decided to pursue this role!
2. Why did you choose to work as a nutritionist and with seniors?
I have always loved working with the older aged population. I had the opportunity to complete one of my dietetic rotations in a long term care facility a few years back. Working as a team member of the inter-professional health-care team, and getting to interact with the residents on a daily basis, made my job enjoyable and meaningful. That is why I returned to this field of work!
3. What are you most excited about with your new position?
My colleagues here have been absolutely wonderful. Since starting my position a week ago, people have been supportive, kind, and more than willing to help me with anything that I have needed. It is evident that everyone here views one another as family.
4. What do you like best about this facility compared to others you’ve worked with?
I like how everyone working here gets the job done, and can smile while doing it. Other long-term care facilities that I’ve worked at in the past, did not have the same warm and welcoming feeling that Sprainbrook has. It sure makes coming to work that much more enjoyable.
5. What three words would you use to describe Sprain?
Collaborative, empowering, and compassionate
6. Can you give us your best “healthy choice” tip for nutrition?
A healthy diet should not be about deprivation; it should be about eating healthy foods that nourish your body. Instead of labelling foods as BAD or GOOD, or thinking about what foods we should cut out of our diet, let’s focus more on increasing our consumption of foods that are going to be beneficial to our health! I am not a vegetarian nor vegan, but consuming a plant-based diet the majority of the time has been linked to lowering a person’s risk of developing chronic disease later in life. EAT YOUR VEGGIES!
Suzette Bernard, the Director of Admissions for Sprain Brook Manor Rehab, is an American success story. After immigrating to the United States from Jamaica in the early 1990’s, she became a nurse’s aide and has worked in healthcare ever since. Along the way, Suzette obtained her American citizenship as well. For some, that might be enough but Suzette had her eyes on a bigger prize.
“I used to admire the ladies in the offices and think to myself, one day I will work in an office as well…so I went to college and majored in Hospitality Management, and got a degree in business administration.”
All of us at Sprain Brook Manor are glad she did but Suzette does much more than get our patients in the door from the hospitals. It goes without saying that she’s developed and maintained excellent relationships with social workers and case managers from all over the tri-county area. They all know Suzette! However, Suzette’s contribution to our little family goes far beyond the daily grind of dealing with insurance companies, Medicaid and Medicare. Her personal investment in our patients and residents is what makes Suzette such a valued member of the team. If she’s not at her desk, she can be found on one of the floors, chatting with any number of patients.
“I must say Sprain Brook is my everything… my home…I am happiest when I am here…there is something about this place…As you walk through the door, you know within your self, that today I will make a big difference in someone’s life. It could be a resident, a family member, a coworker or a visitor. My favorite though are my residents. I look forward to our conversations.”
She’s rarely without a smile, and even while struggling with her own cancer battle, Suzette shows up and gives it her all. Her love for our facility, and all the people in it, is evident in all that she does.
Keep flashing that megawatt smile, Suzette. It lights up the halls of Sprain Brook Manor.
If there’s one quality at Sprain Brook Manor that we have an abundance of, it’s personality! One of those vibrant personalities belongs to Joni Campbell and if you’ve been to Sprain, then you must have met Joni. She is a feisty ball of energy who juggles multiple tasks and when you get to know her, it’s evident that hers is a labor of love.
Joni has been with Sprain Brook Manor for eight years. She arrived in healthcare after several years in retail. When she first came on board at Sprain, Joni started as a receptionist but quickly began taking on other responsibilities from the front desk. Whether it was helping residents with a special food order or aiding a family as they adjusted to their new reality, Joni was always willing to jump in and help. As she told me, “They couldn’t keep me in my seat any longer. So Ari came to me and said, ‘You will be client services now!’”
Her official title may be Client Services but she also helps plan many of our events, is the purchasing director for all non-clinical supplies for both Sprain and our sister facility, Adira at Riverside. As if that isn’t enough hats to wear, Joni also serves as the Administrative Assistant for the company CEO, Allen “Ari” Stein.
Nowadays, many people change jobs the way others change their socks, and eight years is a long time to remain at one company. So, I asked Joni what she loves so much about working at Sprain Brook.
“Our staff treats our residents as family and friends…We offer food to the visitors, this way they can have lunch or dinner with their family or friends. Plus, we have the best recreation here, and bring in entertainment all the time.”
To say that Joni loves her job would be an understatement but the job loves her too. We call her the ‘Google’ of Sprain Brook because if there is anything that you need to know about Sprain Brook Manor, then Joni probably has the answer and if she doesn’t, you can be sure she won’t rest until she gets it.
I asked Joni to give me three words that she feels are best to describe Sprain Brook Manor and she said, “Warm. Family. Outstanding.”
That warm family feeling, the one that many visitors attribute to our facility, comes directly from the people who work here and Joni is certainly at the heart of it. We are a 5 -star facility because of the outstanding people who work here, people like Joni!
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