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Education award helped nurse to grow

Ann Russell was 16 when she first went to work in a senior care community, doing housekeeping and laundry. Now, 20 years later, she has risen through the ranks to become MDS Coordinator at Manor of the Plains, thanks in part to a scholarship from the employee education assistance program a few years ago.

Ann came to Manor of the Plains as an LPN in 2001 and later received her RN certification. In 2009, she was taking classes for her bachelor of science in nursing, or BSN, through Fort Hays State University. She applied for assistance to pay for her textbooks.

“It definitely helped me to be able to go,” Ann said. “I was a single mom with two kids. It allowed me not to take out a loan that year.”

Every summer, Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America announces the recipients of education assistance awards. There are 30 recipients this year at 10 of the 17 PMMA communities.

The education assistance program provides scholarships to employees for accredited educational programs leading to a certification, license or degree. Applications are accepted and reviewed every spring. To be eligible, employees must have been employed at Presbyterian Manors of Mid-America for at least one year at the time the award is made (usually mid-summer). Funds are paid after the successful completion (a “C” grade or higher) of the approved course and can be used to cover tuition, fees and books.

It took Ann two years to complete her BSN. She was working full time and getting married, too. “I didn’t pile on too many classes. But we got it done,” she said. She appreciated that her supervisor was flexible about her scheduling. And she felt supported by an organization that promoted and hired from within.

Ann said her RN training gave her the technical skills for nursing, and the bachelor’s program helped her develop a framework to be a leader and a manager.

What does an MDS coordinator do? The term stands for Minimum Data Set, a tool used in assessing the functional capabilities of residents of certified nursing facilities. Ann’s main responsibilities are handling resident care plans, scheduling the other MDS staff and coordinating care with other departments like therapy.

But what she really does is provide the best possible care to our residents. “I like the diversity of the job and the challenge. You might think the days would all be the same but there is something different every day,” Ann said. “I love the residents.”

RUSSELL, continued from page 1 Manor of the Plain’s Post-Acute To Home (PATH®) program isn’t just about getting you home— it’s about getting you back to your life. Call 620-225-1928 today to schedule your personal appointment and tour.

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