Throughout his three years working at Oak Hill, certified nurse assistant Logan Jackson has always prioritized the health, safety and comfort of his residents.
It is this mentality, in part, that earned him the honor of being chosen as employee of the year by his co-workers.
“Residents come first. That’s my motto,” Jackson said.
As Oak Hill’s Interim Administrator Kim Keckritz explained, employees choose employee of the year based on that year’s employee of the month recipients. While this was Jackson’s first year as employee of the year, it is not his first time receiving high praise for his efforts. He has been named an employee of the month in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Yet, Jackson’s profession has taken a bit of a new shape over the past two years. Not only are Jackson and other CNAs responsible for meeting their residents’ physical and hygienic needs, they are often acting as their only social contacts.
“Mainly we’re there to keep them clean, make sure they’re fed and just spend time with them,” Jackson said. “Now since COVID hit, they haven’t had a chance to really be with their family, so we’re the only family they have so we just make it seem more like it’s home rather than a nursing home.”
Keckritz said Jackson has succeeded in this role, as compliments from residents and their families testify. The happiness he brings Oak Hill residents is equally rewarding for him, Jackson said.
“I’m there more than I’m at home, so (the residents) are pretty much my family, and when I’m away from my family, I get upset,” Jackson said. “The next day when I get back from my day off or my weekend off, I get at least six or seven residents … tell me that they missed me. That’s what makes me feel good, that’s what makes me keep going back. You don’t get that anywhere else.”
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, health care fields have faced short staffing. Keckritz said Jackson has been instrumental in helping the county-run senior living facility weather this storm.
“He has put in a lot of hours over this past year because the staffing has been short. The staffing is short in health care, period – not just at Oak Hill – but he’s picked up extra hours to make sure the residents get the best care,” Keckritz said. “I think a lot of people respect that along with the fact that he’s just a very kind person.”
Jackson said at the beginning of the pandemic when many residents caught the disease, some staffers were worried about bringing it home to their families and resigned. Eventually, the staffing situation began to improve, but the recent surge hitting the state has once again made the problem more prominent, Jackson said.
“We were starting to get a little more staff and then COVID hit again,” Jackson said. “Now, we have several (staff) that are out again. So, right now it’s another challenge, but we’ve overcome one challenge, why not another one?”
Jackson said Arbor Court – the area of the facility Jackson works in at Oak Hill that consists of four halls – should have 15-20 CNAs. Recently, this figure has bounced between five and six.
While this can easily lead to burnout, Jackson said it is more important now than ever to remain there for his residents.
“I know my residents – I know what they like and what they want – and some people don’t. I wanted to keep some familiarity for residents, especially with how most of them have dementia or some sort of loss. I just want them to have a familiar face to look at every day, because if it’s different people they’re going to get even more confused,” Jackson said.
Thanks to an extra special volunteer – who Keckritz said would not want to be named – 2022 employees of the month will see a new aspect of the award.
“We have a volunteer here who just loves the fact that we recognize people who go above and beyond, and for 2022 she has actually donated $1,200. She wants each employee of the month (this) year to receive $100,” Keckritz said. “I think it’s really nice that she thinks that the people do such special work that she wants to recognize them by giving them $100 for every employee of the month.”