Archive for Thursday, May 22, 2008

Medicalodges director of nursing wins award

May 22, 2008

Kansas Health Care Association has chosen Delores Stiffler, director of nursing at Medicalodges, Eudora, as the Director of Nursing of the year.

Stiffler, who has worked at the facility for 24 years, traveled to Wichita with fellow staff members who knew she would receive the award at a KHCA convention.

She was then seated at a table with a back to the rest of the room as her husband and other family members stealthily walked in and were seated at tables behind her so they could watch her receive the award.

"I don't think that I deserve the award more than probably every other director of nursing," Stiffler said. "The things that we do are part of our job and we just do it."

Stiffler first worked in the laundry room of the facility, then in the dietary department.

She had entertained the idea that when she graduated from high school she would go into nursing, but the school she wanted to go to would not allow married women to enroll.

So when the facility, formerly known as Eudora Nursing Center, announced it was giving certified nursing assistant classes, she took the opportunity to complete her goal to become a nurse.

Stiffler's day-to-day duties have changed since she became director of nursing, much like the duties of a teacher change when they become a principal.

"I fill in on the floor, but the paperwork does take up a lot of time, as well as supervising and trying to make sure everything gets done the way it's supposed to be done," she said.

Facillity administrator Tami Klinedinst said Stiffler is responsible for a facility-wide culture change that took place after the Medicalodges took over in November.

Where the facility once was more institutionalized, it now is closer to the environment of a community, for both residents and staff members.

"She's been able to change pretty much every department in the facility to get them going toward doing resident-centered care," Klinedinst said.

Some of the changes Stiffler helped make were allowing open dining hours and open seating during meals. She also split up four wings of the facility into neighborhoods, with each community holding meetings so that the staff and residents can work together better.

"Nursing home work is not for everybody," Stiffler said. "You know, people tell us all the time 'I couldn't do that. It must be depressing to work there.' But everybody who works here doesn't find it depressing.

"It's just part of the continuum of life - there's got to be a beginning and an end. Our goal is to make their quality of life good and to treat them with respect and give them a happy ending."

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