Nettie Nielsen has been brightening the lives of residents and staff of Heritage Manor of Franklinton in Louisiana since the start of the millenium.

Currently Heritage Manor’s medical records coordinator, Nielsen dove into the health care field and attended nursing school at age 44, after she and her husband raised their two daughters and put them through college.

At the time, in Nielsen and her husband’s town, the dairy industry provided a major source of revenue for the community. However, the dairy economy eventually dipped, and Nielsen knew she needed to search for a new career. Fueled by her drive to care for others, Nielsen explained: “Nursing was something I always wanted to do.”

Fortunately, Nielsen found her match in Heritage Manor. “It feels like home here,” Nielsen says, describing the care center as a “family,” adding, “It’s a team here. I enjoy working with my fellow employees.”

Compassion pushes Nielsen to consistently give her all. She understands what it’s like to be on the other side of the situation, a.k.a., as a family member giving over their loved one into the trust of care center employees—as Nielsen’s parents were once residents at Heritage Manor of Franklinton. She says: “They need people everyday to brighten their lives. People who care about them.”

Nowadays, Nielsen fills this very role of TLC, and says: “I take great satisfaction in helping others here at Heritage Manor. . . I care about the residents and I try to make their lives brighter.”

One particular encounter with a resident brought the whole purpose back to square one for Nielsen. She relayed the story:

"I care about the residents and I try to make their lives brighter. . . It is an honor to serve."

“Several years ago, around Thanksgiving, a family member came by the facility to visit with their mother. This family member was emotional and wanted to share with me what she was most thankful for. She began to tell me what an invaluable service our [care center] and staff provided for her mother and her family. She told me of many responsibilities overwhelming her and trying to find an answer during their time of need. With genuine gratitude, she spoke of being able to carry on with day-to-day responsibilities with the assurance that her loved one was being taken care of. This encounter touched me, and I have not forgotten. It reminds me that it is an honor to serve. It might just be you who receives the blessing!”

Meanwhile, Nielsen explains that, “adapting to changing technology has been a challenge.” However, she says: “Help is never far away. I can always count on my youthful tech co-workers to catch me up.”

Tech-savvy or not, at the end of the day, Nielsen advises health care employees to: “Serve with a positive attitude, stay calm under stress, and seek help and advice when needed.”

Nielsen says she feels “honored” to be nominated for this CHIRP Spotlight, and acknowledges that she relies on her Christian faith through it all.

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