This Nurses Week, Brightview Senior Living extends a huge congratulations to our two Baltimore Magazine’s Excellence in Nursing Award winners: Jeanne Leonard and Cecilia “CeCe” Mambo. Leonard, currently the Regional Health and Wellness Director for our Baltimore-Annapolis-Pennsylvania communities, started with Brightview as the Health Services Director for Brightview Towson in 2012. Mambo worked up the ladder at Brightview, starting as a Resident Assistance in 2005 and going to school to further her nursing education. She has served as the Health Services Director at Brightview Mays Chapel Ridge since 2013.
We asked our award winners a little more about their nursing background, what their days look like, and why a nursing career with Brightview has proved so stimulating and rewarding for them. Visit our careers section for more information on a health and wellness career with Brightview Senior Living.
Q: Tell me about your nursing background.
Leonard: I’ve been a nurse for 34 years. I attended nursing school at Fairfield University right out of high school. After college, I worked in several hospitals on the MedSurg floors and in the float pool. I always wanted to do home care after having a good experience in college. The next time I moved, I started working with a home care company and did Medicare skilled care visits. I really enjoyed figuring out what people needed to stay safe in their own homes. One day, I stumbled on Assisted Living and discovered the role of a nurse in Assisted Living communities was very similar to home care. Even in an Assisted Living setting, you are keeping people safe in their own homes. I eventually did home care within Assisted Living and was stationed at several Brightview communities doing home care.
Mambo: I started as a Resident Assistant at Brightview Mays Chapel Ridge in March 2005, helping residents with their activities of daily living. At the same time, I was going to school to get my LPN. In 2006, Brightview sent me to a Med Tech class so that I could complete that certification. I received my LPN and continued moving up the ladder with Brightview. I started working as a Wellness Nurse while continuing school. Brightview was very supportive of my education; I was getting some tuition reimbursement. In 2010, I became an RN and a BSN in 2012. I loved what I was doing here – I loved working with residents and their families. In 2013, I was promoted to Health Services Director.
Q: What made you consider the move to Brightview Senior Living?
Leonard: The opportunity came up in 2012 when Brightview Towson was opening, and they needed a Health Services Director. In home care, you work very independently, and the idea of coming back and working with a team was very attractive. It was exciting to work in a new building, and it was really the people that drew me to the position.
Mambo: I really enjoyed working with seniors. At the time, my mom had some chronic issues, and I was helping her. I also appreciated the flexible schedule. Brightview gave me that balance between work, school, and family.
Q: Tell me what a typical day looks like in your role.
Leonard: As a regional director, I support about 40 people in 14 communities. My day takes on the shape of what is needed by others. I do a lot of training and help people stay in compliance with their certifications. On occasion, I do hands-on nursing and assessments. If members of my team come across a unique situation, I offer support. I’m in communities about three to four days a week.
Mambo: As a Health Services Director, I connect with the team and check any notes from the previous day when I come in each day. We have a Director Stand Up meeting every morning to discuss any issues or new residents coming into the community. We provide care at Brightview very holistically; care comes from those serving in the Dining Room to those cleaning the apartments to the ones bringing activities to residents. Every day is a learning day at Brightview. I also help coordinate care services. We can bring different services to the community; residents don’t have to go out for podiatry, physical, occupational, speech therapy, and many other services. We try to bring them to the community so that residents receive the services in the comfort of their homes. As a nurse at Brightview, you are a nurse coordinator, supervisor, delegator, and advocate.
Q: What is attractive about nursing positions in Brightview communities?
Leonard: Nursing in Assisted Living is different than other clinical environments. In a hospital, you bring people in, you take care of them, and they go home. In rehab, it’s the same sort of thing. Even in home care, you admit people, figure out what the problems are, fix them up, and eventually discharge them. In Assisted Living, you really have the opportunity to form long-lasting relationships. Here, you become part of that person’s story. You’re much more part of the families’ and residents’ lives than in any other kind of nursing.
Mambo: Being a caregiver at Brightview gives you a lot of experience. You get to connect with residents and their families and form long-lasting relationships. It helps you improve resident health outcomes, too; if something is going on, you can pick up on subtle changes in their health and implement any changes.
Q: What is one thing that has surprised you about your career with Brightview?
Leonard: I’ve been a nurse for 34 years and with Brightview for nine years, and you would think the job would be routine. That’s not the case at all; there is always something to learn and someone to collaborate with. It’s never boring; there is always something else to get involved with and something new to learn.
Mambo: How fulfilling, empowering, challenging, and enriching being a nurse in Assisted Living is. Most people look at nurses in the senior living industry and think all we do is administer medication and help with activities of daily living. We do so much more than that. You are coordinating care and critically thinking. We play a vital role in the health of our residents. You are collaborating care so the residents can receive it here in the community. You work a lot independently, you have to make quick decisions on the floor, and you are always thinking outside the box to make sure you are providing quality care to the residents. Also, the opportunity to grow within the company is very surprising. Most companies don’t offer that.
Another surprising aspect of Brightview is the leadership – how accessible, approachable, and supportive the leadership is all the way from the Executive Director to the President of the company. We can call them or reach out to them whenever we have an issue or need support. We see them in the communities helping us and supporting us.
Q: What advice would you give to a fellow nurse considering a move to senior living?
Leonard: Brightview is a rewarding environment where you have the opportunity to form long-lasting relationships with residents and their families. It has more of that extended family feel than other types of nursing, and I think that appeals to a lot of people.
Mambo: What are you waiting for? Come and join this fulfilling industry. If you have the love and passion for working with seniors, this is the field you should be in. There are so many growth opportunities. If you like to work independently and develop the skills you have, this is your opportunity. If you love to work with residents, this is the career for you. You know residents for years, and you form long-lasting relationships. You become one big Brightview family.
Q: What makes you most proud of being a nurse?
Leonard: You have the opportunity every single day to make a difference in someone else’s life.
Mambo: I love what I do. Making a difference, putting a smile on a resident’s or their family’s face brings me joy. I am proud to be entrusted by families to take the best care of their loved ones. The long-lasting relationships we form and the opportunity to give residents purposeful, engaging, and thriving days are special.
Brightview Senior Living builds, owns, and operates award-winning vibrant senior living communities in eight states along the East Coast: Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. We offer senior Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Care, and Wellspring Village®, a specialized neighborhood for people living with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Schedule a personal visit to experience our communities firsthand.