The Director of Nursing (DON) for the Gibson Area Hospital (GAH) Long-Term Care Annex, Kristy Elder, is no stranger to hard work. Ten years ago Kristy began her career with GAH as a CNA. As a CNA, Kristy continued her education in the medical field and in 2006 she became a registered nurse. As a nurse Kristy continued to excel and in February of this year she became the DON for the Annex. With this position, Kristy was given more responsibility as well as a group of residents whom she would be able to provide long-term care for.
As DON, Kristy has continued to educate herself, specify in the field of geriatrics. Recently, she was awarded her multi-disciplinary certificate in geriatrics after completing a 3 month course with the Continuing Education Institute of Illinois in cooperation with the University of Illinois, College of Medicine. In this course Kristy studied: Biology of Aging, Nutrition in the Older Adult, Local, State, and National Resources, Dementia Symptoms Management, Elder Law, Laughter the Best Medicine, among numerous other topics.
“This course was a great way to learn about the numerous different aspects of caring for the elderly,” said Kristy. “It provided me with several new resources and ideas that we, at the Annex, can tap into to help our residents in their daily lives.”
One of these resources that Kristy has utilized is the Illinois Pioneer Coalition. The purpose of the Illinois Pioneer Coalition is to improve the quality of life for individuals and staff in all care settings throughout the State of Illinois. Kristy said, “After hearing a speaker from the Illinois Pioneer Coalition I was inspired to join a coalition. I soon realized that we did not have one in our area. So, the Annex Team and I decided to start our own area coalition to continue to improve the lives of our areas elderly population.”