In the ever-evolving skilled nursing landscape, one thing has always remained a constant: the quest for longevity.

We tend to view longevity from the perspective of the patient or resident. For example, a skilled nursing facility that touts their large population of centenarians is associated with an exemplary level of quality care and services. This distinction is considered a metric of their success. To be sure, there is much merit to this and indeed, I’ve brought attention to it myself.

I’d like to posit that this same logic may be equally applied to the longevity of a healthcare employee, particularly in the skilled nursing arena.

Those of us who’ve run successful skilled nursing facilities are intimately familiar with the challenges of finding and retaining good staff in all departments. To care for elderly people is a difficult, daunting and sometimes thankless task. It isn’t for the faint of heart, and one must have the mental fortitude and requisite compassion to apply and survive as an employee in this line of work.

It is for this reason that websites offering seamless employee recruitment tools flourish in our industry.

With this perspective in mind, allow me to introduce you to Bea Ross and her amazing and heartwarming story.

Beatrice “Bea” Ross of Wayne, NJ, passed away last month at the age of 91. She was a charming and delightful woman of singular character.

To know her was to love her.

Bea began her professional career in March of 1974 at the Regency Gardens Nursing and Post-Acute Rehabilitation Center in Wayne.

Though her official role was in the front office and bookkeeping departments, she was so much more than that. She would engage in arts and crafts with the residents, cook with them, bake with them and reminisce with them, always in her unassuming and sincere way.

She remained a loyal and devoted Regency Gardens employee for the next 44 years!

That’s three years longer than I’ve been alive, which helps place things in perspective for me.

Forty-four years as an employee in a skilled nursing facility is almost unfathomable. 

Indeed, it is more than just a testament to longevity, but also to the mutual respect, qualifications and compassion on the part of the employee and the facility.

Both are to be commended for their accomplishments.

But most of all, the amazing story of Bea Ross and Regency Gardens Nursing Center should act as a clarion call to our entire industry.

It is proof that longevity in our healthcare lexicon is possible and meaningful on both ends of the equation. We can achieve great things together by “retaining” not only our residents, but also our employees.

Judah Gutwein LNHA, is CEO of SkyCare Media