One of the daily department head meetings at Oak Park Nursing Home. From left to right: Assistant Director of Nursing Christy McDaniel, RN; Social Service Director Tracy Jenkins; Director of Nursing Amy Roberts, RN; MDS & Care Plan Coordinator LaGail Hodges, RN; and Business Office Manager Bonnie Carmack.
Roberts shared a story about her mom taking in young kids who had to travel from the country to the city where they lived in order to attend secondary school, which in Jamaica equates to high school. Her mother, a seamstress by trade, would house three to four children, along with her own children. The children would stay with the family Monday through Friday so they could attend classes without the long journey back and forth.
Roberts plans to complete a doctorate in the near future because, as she says, she doesn’t like unfinished business. As a young student, many urged her to become a lawyer because of her straightforward and direct nature. She entertained the thought briefly, but she knew that nursing was her true calling.
When Roberts was growing up in Jamaica there were no nursing homes. The elderly lived with their families during their twilight years. When her grandmother had a stroke, she lived at home with Roberts. Roberts served as her grandmother’s primary caregiver for much of the time, until her passing just a few months shy of turning 102. So when she came to the US she was “blown away”, as she put it, by the concept of nursing homes, and caring for the elderly quickly became her passion.
“I have always gravitated to older folks,” said Roberts. “They have lived long and have so much wisdom to pass along to us. They have a great spirit that I find very exciting. It is life!”
Roberts has been with Oak Park for seven years. Her coworkers will tell you she is passionate about her work. She’s active with the residents and always participates when they have a special day, sometimes dressing up for themed events right along with them. She confesses that she loves the feisty nature of some of the residents because it shows how alive they can be. She knows every resident by name and makes sure to take time to sit and listen to him or her. Anyone who knows Roberts will tell you that her positive attitude is infectious and is part of what makes her a great leader. Roberts takes pride in her leadership role and in addition to serving on the education committee, she also serves on ANHA’s Facility Standards Committee.
We asked Roberts if she had a parting thought for this story and here is what she said: “I’m inspired by the fearless leadership of the CEO at EAMC, and dedication to our business at Oak Park. I’ve loved every minute I’ve spent here and wouldn’t change it for anything.” Oh, and she wants you to know she is an ardent Auburn fan. War Eagle!
Editor’s Note: Missy Burchart, APR, is a freelance writer based in Birmingham.