By Harry Glazer
Ann Burgess, long serving LPN at the Parker Home senior residence in Piscataway, has set a remarkable record of rarely missing a day of work in her 30 plus years at Parker.
What inspires such incredible dedication?
If you ask Ann, she will tell you that a lot has to do with the company’s strong compassion not just for the elders and the participants it serves but for the staff as well.
Ann recalls, in particular, the gracious understanding her managers and coworkers gave her when her husband James, a former baker for the Wonder Bread bakery in East Brunswick, was on dialysis in the early 2000’s. Ann had to assist him with doctors’ appointments and treatments, sometimes in the middle of her work day, and Parker was always supportive.
Ann is also grateful that Parker accommodated her desire to shift to part-time work after her husband died in 2013. Though she was considering retirement, she wanted to stay active and to continue providing superb care for the nursing home residents. Recognizing her superior skills as a nurse and a role model to new nurses, Parker made a place for her by shifting its staffing in the senior residence.
Ann, in turn, is a very valuable part of Parker’s staff so it’s no mystery why managers have worked to accommodate her.
She is well known for her dedication to her work, her easy-going nature, and her consistently pleasant manner. Her motto is simple and straightforward: “You do what you have to do to help the elders. Because that is the goal of a nursing home – to bring happiness and care into the lives of those we serve.”
When Ann received a 30-year service award at Parker’s annual service award dinner on March 22nd, she was celebrated as one of four people who reached that major milestone in 2016.
Ann has another distinction at Parker, as one of a handful of people whose child has also joined the staff at Parker. In 2004, her daughter Tamara became a concierge working part-time at Parker’s homes in New Brunswick and Piscataway. Tamara has become a valued member of the team at Parker and is now a full-time concierge in the Pavilion who also works to support the Adult Day Program.
In her 30+ years at Parker, Ann has witnessed a lot of changes.
When she started, in 1985, paper medical records were the norm and computers were not seen in the homes. Now, most records are electronic and computers have become commonplace.
In her early years at Parker, nurses’ caps and white uniforms were the rule. Shortly after Parker’s CEO Roberto Muniz arrived in 1998, he decided to do away with the caps and allow the nurses to choose from a variety of colors for their scrubs, two decisions that were widely celebrated.
Even the language used to refer to those whom Parker serves has changed, moving from ‘patients’ to the more dignified and person-centered term of Elders.
Throughout all the changes, Ann’s upbeat approach has stayed constant. You can see this in the way she advises new nursing staff members: “To be successful in this business, you have to like people and be positive. So even if one day is difficult, be hopeful. Because tomorrow will be a better day.”
Parker is grateful beyond words to have a role model like Ann on its staff. We hope to continue to benefit from her positive spirit and skilled efforts for a long time to come.