620 E. Main St. | West Lafayette, OH 43845

Atlas Owner Works As Nursing Assistant at Lafayette!

From L to R: Bob Speelman, Lindsay Beiter, Cheryl Cole, Jay Olinger

August 4, 2017
I had the privilege of working at our Lafayette Pointe facility this week. Lafayette Pointe is an 87 bed facility located in West Lafayette, Ohio. Jay Olinger is the Administrator there and he has done a tremendous job building an outstanding team of caregivers. One of those outstanding caregivers is Cheryl Cole. The residents call her “Sarge,” which is short for Sergeant, and it didn’t take me long to discover why.

Cheryl doesn’t mess around, she means business. She couldn’t care less if I’m the owner of the company or the Pope. Cheryl was about one thing- caring for her residents; and I’d better be about that, too. I honestly was waiting for her to tell me, “Drop and give me ten, soldier!” Luckily that didn’t happen.

After getting my orders to make beds and pass ice, I was off, and determined not to mess it up. However, something struck me right away; something I practiced during STNA training, but never really mastered- the dreaded Hospital Corner or Military Corner. I can see the headline now: “Owner of Healthcare Company Can't Even Make a Bed Correctly.” The pressure was on! Not only did I not want to let Sarge down, I was also attempting to perform this task in the presence of a resident who is a retired nurse.

One day you are running a healthcare company, the next day a resident is teaching you how to make her bed.

After passing Sarge’s boot camp of making beds, passing ice, and providing care for residents, we got a chance to talk. Cheryl told me about how she loved her job, and I knew she had to be telling the truth- she’s been a nursing assistant at Lafayette Pointe for 32 years! Even more impressive than her tenure and loyalty was Cheryl’s answer as to why she has stuck with it for this long – “I love my job!” she said, “These residents need me, and it is nice to be needed. That’s a great feeling.”

Maybe that’s the piece that gets lost in healthcare. At the end of the day, our healthcare community is primarily about needs. We know the residents have needs, that’s why there are nursing homes in the first place. But In the past several weeks of meeting amazing nursing assistants and nurses, I’ve never had one tell me that they do it for the money. The all-stars, the ones that stick around, the ones that the residents and employees all rave about, are the ones that understand Cheryl’s point- we need the residents as much as they need us. We don’t care for our residents because we want to have good performance evaluations, or better profit margin; we give good care because helping those in need fills a void in our hearts and souls and gives us a sense of meaning and purpose.

During lunch, I asked a group of residents what made Cheryl so great and one responded, “She Cares!” Another resident said, “She always helps us right away.” A third resident added, “She loves her job and it shows.”

Cheryl is a dream employee for a nursing home, but is the first to tell you that it takes a team to make great care happen. She raved about, and I witnessed first hand, some other all-stars as well. Cheryl and Lindsey Beiter, a nurse on the rehab unit, are a key part of making the rehab unit at Lafayette so successful. They work together with a mutual respect and vision. They know when to handle their own tasks and when to team up. With all the complexities and pressure in skilled nursing, it was neat seeing these two work together to make a peaceful, safe environment for the residents. Both Cheryl and Lindsey spoke to me about how this level of coordination rises all the way to the top at Lafayette. Jay Olinger, the administrator at Lafayette, was constantly on the floor, jumping in and helping, and providing support. It was neat hearing him talk, because it reminded me once again, that we all need each other. Jay spoke of his nursing assistants as “his rock” that he greatly looks up to and is amazed by.

Thank you Sarge, Lindsay, Jay and the awesome team at Lafayette for reminding me what it means to support superior care. We can’t do it alone. We all have our strengths and areas of knowledge; but when we work together, united under the vision of giving quality care to our residents, we can do great things.

Bob Speelman, STNA

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We're thrilled to have Jay lead our team at Lafayette!