Vanessa Ashenfelter MHCA Employee of the Year
PARIS – Long time Monroe Manor Nursing Home employee Vanessa Ashenfelter was named the Missouri Health Care Association [MHCA] Employee of the Year [EOTY] during the group’s annual convention in Branson, MO Aug. 27.
Ms. Ashenfelter, 62, of Paris, has spent her adult life associated with the Manor, and is the nursing home’s longest serving employee. She was picked for the annual MHCA recognition from a final group of four nursing home employees, from across the state, after winning the District VI EOTY earlier this year.
She is the first Monroe Manor employee in the nursing home’s 45 year history to win the state-wide honor.
Ms. Ashenfelter said she was much appreciative for the recognition and laurel.
“This is an award I will cherish my entire life,” she said. “For the past 41 years I have had the privilege to work with great staff and care for wonderful residents, which has made my job so rewarding! Thanks to each one and a special thank you to Shari Embree for nominating me.”
In addition to the MHCA and District VI EOTYs, Ms. Ashenfelter has been recognized with two Monroe Manor EOTY runner-up awards in the last three years.
Ms. Ashenfelter’s late mother, Joy Levings, was the Manor's office manager from its opening in 1973 till her death in 1981, and Vanessa assisted her while in high school. Ms. Ashenfelter worked at the Manor after graduating from Paris High School, in 1974, through 1976, in laundry and as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant. She took a year off to obtain a Licensed Practical Nurse’s credentials and rejoined the Manor Oct. 3, 1977. In the past 41 years she has served as a charge nurse, the assistant director of nursing and interim administrator. In 1983, she assumed the director of social services position.
Manor administrator Shari Embree said Ms. Ashenfelter’s title as social services director doesn’t begin describe the myriad of duties and responsibilities Vanessa is accountable for and volunteers to accomplish on a daily basis.
“She coordinates arrangements for all new admissions, greeting new residents and families and filling out the multitude of records pertaining to new admissions,” Ms. Embree said. “She composes all our residents’ social histories, initiates care plans and manages all resident data. Vanessa coordinates all doctor visits and transportation along with taking more than hundred phone calls a week.”
In her nomination of Ms. Ashenfelter, Ms. Embree wrote: “Vanessa is the first person family members of prospective residents see when they visit the Manor. She is our face to the public and an exemplary representative of the industry. With such a long personal and family association to Monroe Manor, people expect to see Vanessa at our front door and there would be an obvious void if she weren’t. What truly makes her special is she’s as gracious, tactful and courteous as she is experienced, dedicated and subtle: There’s no question she can’t answer, no state regulation she can’t comply with, no complaint she can’t rectify and no resident, or family member she can’t pacify. If there is a person that’s trustworthy, loyal, indispensable, it’s Vanessa Ashenfelter.”
Ms. Embree wrote, “Vanessa leads by example. There’s not a job in this building that she would ask an employee to do that she couldn’t do herself, or already accomplished herself. The staff observes Vanessa come in on her off time to arrange an admission, or work a Charge Nurse position. She has a calming effect on staff and residents as a result of her genuine smile and temperate demeanor. Vanessa’s quiet disposition is infectious and goes a long way in ensuring confidence and compliance among staff members and residents.”
The nomination was read to the audience after Ms. Ashenfelter was announced as the association’s EOTY and she said it was both humbling and gratifying to hear what Ms. Embree had written about her.
“It was hard standing there and hearing all those comments. I was just so appreciative of the recognition, it was surreal, but I was so proud to represent the Manor and our staff.”
Ms. Embree said she was her honor to nominate Ms. Ashenfelter.
“In the 25 years I have known Vanessa,” Ms. Embree said, “she is always kind and caring to all the residents. We are a better facility because of her. We all respect her so much. Her professionalism is unmatched!”
Ms. Ashenfelter is the fourth Manor employee to receive the MHCA District VI EOTY – representing 21 nursing homes in 17 counties – in the last six years and Ms. Embree said it wasn’t a coincidence.
“We have a dedicated and excellent staff,” Mrs. Embree said. “I couldn’t begin to recount all the attributes our employees exhibit on a daily basis, 24 hours a day. I think Vanessa’s achievement represents everyone that labors here. They’re all dedicated, caring and deserve praise and the community’s appreciation. They have mine.
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