Senior living care became increasingly complicated during the pandemic. It brought challenges that many did not expect, and it raised awareness to just how essential everyone working within a long term care facility is, including the certified nursing assistants (CNA’s) who were not only dealing with COVID-19, but in many communities a CNA shortage. This week’s SDAHO healthcare hero is Heather Murphy a CNA with Westhills Village Retirement Community in Rapid City. The Healthcare Hero campaign is designed to recognize and celebrate healthcare professionals from across the state.
Heather Murphy has been with the Westhills Village Retirement Community for just 4-months, choosing a career in healthcare during the pandemic. After taking on her new role during very challenging times, Heather says being able to be there and help everyone is one of the things she appreciates about her role. Heather was nominated for the healthcare hero campaign by her fiancé Seth Dean who has watched Heather grow and work hard in her new healthcare position. “My fiancé goes above and beyond for the residents and her job. She puts them first and does not stop or leave until she is completely satisfied that she is leaving them the way she would expect them to be left.” Seth Dean, Fiancé’
Growing up Heather’s grandfather suffered from dementia and Heather says that is what led her to a career in healthcare. When Heather talks about the rewarding moments of her job so far, she admits they may be simple but yet, very big moments for some. “My favorite part of my job is just taking care of my residents. I like watching a resident get better and go home or seeing them smile is rewarding to me.”
Like many who work in a senior living care setting, COVID-19 played a huge role in the daily operations during the pandemic. Heather says the high expectations were already in place when she arrived, but she did notice an increase in sanitary requirements. “I’ve noticed more cleaning and taking extra caution with everything.” As Heather looks to the future for herself and her residents, she thinks the requirement to wear masks and additional PPE will stay around for a while. “COVID Testing will probably continue for a long time too.”
As more and more healthcare professionals are being recognized for their work during the pandemic, Heather says they deserve it. “I honestly feel healthcare deserves the recognition they are receiving especially during these trying times.” When asked how she feel about being nominated for the SDAHO Healthcare Hero award, “It’s amazing!” Heather says she loves working in healthcare and in South Dakota and is looking forward to her future taking care of residents.
Heather Murphy thank you for all you do and congratulations on being a SDAHO Healthcare Hero.