Nicole Schnelle, MDS Coordinator at Lake Mary Health and Rehab, collects stories from the residents she encounters. She meets residents where they are, all while honoring and valuing their past journeys. For Schnelle, listening to residents’ backstories is like “getting a little piece of history firsthand. It’s not like a textbook.”

Schnelle has been a member of the Consulate care center community for two years now. From the beginning, Schnelle’s career has always been centered in helping others recuperate and heal. She started out as a CNA, then moved on to earn LPN status. From there, she transitioned into a hospice center in Utah, where she served for two years. However, two years ago her life out West was uprooted, and she landed a job at Lake Mary in Florida.

Luckily, Schnelle has embraced the environment at Lake Mary and merged well with the staff.  She said, “The culture here is very positive. We always try to encourage each other. We are a team. Even through the bad times we get back together and are cohesive again. . . And it’s a beautiful center, and I have great co-workers.”

But it’s the impact of the residents that motivates Schnelle most of all. “They’re all so significant,” she said. “I take a piece from everybody. They all impact my life.” She explained that the residents’ attitudes and strength to get up each and every day–including centenarians–is “inspirational” to her. “I know I’m not with them as a floor nurse, but I do get to interact with them, help with their care plans, and keeping them safe.”

“[Listening to the residents] is like getting a little piece of history firsthand. It’s not like a textbook.”

In her daily role, she believes that honesty is the most vital of all Consulate’s core values. Schnelle said that part of honesty is “growing and learning and correcting anything that needs to be corrected.” She stressed the importance of addressing issues immediately, as well as working the core value system each and every day.

Susan Neri, Activity Coordinator at Lake Mary, sang her praises for Schnelle, writing: “[Nicole’s] concerns and communication skills with the residents and family members are honest and with deepest respect. She makes each member of the care plan meetings feel comfortable and respected by listening carefully and addressing concerns properly. Nicole approaches each day with her best attitude and kindness.”

To other health care professionals, Schnelle advised: “Give criticism constructively, and take it everyday as a learning experience. Choose battles–what’s important and what’s not.” Above all else, she said, “The residents and families come first.”

In her free time, Schnelle enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies, reading books, and listening to podcasts.