Shaping the Future
Staffing, education, compliance, rising acuity—
so much influences the emerging field of
assisted living nursing. Here’s a look at how
five pioneers are continuing to blaze the trail.
By Whitney Redding
MeMBeRS oF tHiS eXeCutive FoCuS GRoup
di Anne c AtusKA, Rn, Regional director, HHHunt, has a varied background in
nursing, including psychiatric nursing, rehabilitation, and work with individuals
with cerebral palsy. She also was a nursing home administrator, but moved on
when regulations became “atrocious.” Assisted living’s focus on resident care
is a perfect fit for her. “it’s always been where my heart is” she says.
si LvA K. m. gerety, Rn, Corporate director of Health and Wellness, Brightview
Senior Living, says that being an assisted living nurse wasn’t a clear option when
she started her career in parent/child nursing. She has also been a nursing
school dean, regional nurse with Sunrise Senior Living, and a corporate nurse
with Five Star Senior Living. She says assisted living is “very close to my heart”
and values being an advocate for residents and their independence.
Jeffrey s. gruber, Rn, Regional director of Quality Services, emeritus Senior
Living, originally focused on business management in his professional life. But
in his desire to serve the community, he volunteered as an eMt on a rescue
squad, which led him to a nursing career. “i fell in love with helping people and
serving,” he says. He joined emeritus in 1997 and soon opened a community
in Staunton, virginia.
cArey miLLer, Rn, Corporate Quality Assurance Coordinator, Morningside
Management, started her nursing career in critical care and then moved into
pharmacy services and training, which is how she came to know Morningside
and the assisted living field. She soon joined the Morningside team and became
a self-described “assisted living person.”
Lynne smigeLsKi, RnC, Regional director of Health Services, Five Star Senior
Living, started her career as an acute care Lpn, and soon after became an Rn.
She moved into long-term care as an MdS coordinator, staff development coordinator, and don. “Right about then was when assisted living really started
blossoming,” she says. “i saw the opportunity to use my nursing skills and have
a collaborative relationship with residents and families.”
few roles in senior living demand the clinical expertise, HR savvy, and business sense that regional
nurses or directors of quality care must possess
to successfully manage the services residents
receive at multiple communities—day in and
day out. Assisted Living Executive hosted five of
these professionals at the ALFA headquarters
in Alexandria, Virginia. For several hours, they
shared their most challenging issues, community-level strategies, compliance procedures,
Here are the highlights from that conversation, which throughout each specific discussion, always returned to quality of life and
community experience for residents and their
With a unique perspective on resident care and
what it costs to provide it, the group agrees that
a big issue is how to help residents who may be
spending down their savings or need additional
care services as their acuity levels rise.
Mission-minded professionals around the
table expressed frustration about the enormous
About this series: this is the debut installment of Assisted Living Executive’s new executive Focus Group. each issue of the magazine throughout 2011 will feature an executive
Focus Group article that convenes leading senior living executives in various disciplines to exchange ideas and solutions for the toughest challenges in the business.
Let us know what you think and add to the conversation by being an active member of ALFA exchange, at community.ALFA.org.