In recognition of Nurses Week, May 6-12, 2018, it’s our honor to shine the CHIRPs spotlight on Andi Clark, Consulate’s Chief Nursing Officer. Andi joined Consulate Health Care almost three years ago, in November 2015. Since then, Consulate has benefitted from her vast experience in the field.
Andi, who is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was fortunate to find her passion in life at a young age. She became a RN, and like many new nurses, she first went to work in a hospital on a medical/surgical unit. Within a year, a friend of hers asked if she might be interested in working in a nursing home. Although Andi did not think that she was interested, she went on the job interview at a 120-bed skilled nursing center anyway. As fate would have it, Andi was hired as a unit manager on a 60-bed unit, where she immediately fell in love with every patient that she met. Not long after, she was hand-picked by the administrator to be the director of nursing at the young age of 21! It was at this care center that Andi began to devote her career to something that spoke to her heart, working with the elderly in long-term care.
After four years at her first care center, Andi started to work at a 692-bed building, where she spent the next 20 years of her career. At Mount Carmel, she had a number of roles, including nursing supervisor on second shift, clinical educator and assistant director of nursing. After approximately ten years at Mt. Carmel, Andi became licensed as a nursing home administrator and served as the executive director for seven additional years.
Andi’s next move was to Florida, where she became the regional vice president of operations for Beverly, a large nursing home corporation. Andi was responsible for the operation of 12 buildings in the system. Andi’s next role brought her back to her nursing roots as one of Beverly’s regional directors of clinical services. Even though Andi had worked in administration for many years, she said this about returning to clinical work, “When you’re a nurse, you’re a nurse, and it really never leaves you. It’s just in your heart.” She later became the senior vice president of nursing at Beverly/Golden Living. She served Beverly’s 304 nursing centers for 13 years. The vast responsibilities of the job had the potential to be very intimidating, but Andi lived by her guiding tenet that, “As long as you always put the patient in the middle of everything you do, you will always make the right decision.”
Why long-term care?
Some might ask why long-term care and post-acute care are such a great field for nurses. Andi believes that, “Long-term care and post-acute care continue to be the most important part of the healthcare continuum.” She mentioned that this field allows nurses to use clinical skills and leadership skills more than in a traditional hospital setting. Nurses in post-acute care are the bridge to going home. “They educate patients and families and make sure they are ready to go home,” says Andi. They also partner with home health so the patient has a smooth transition.
She loves our nurses
“I love our nurses because I know how hard they work. Our CNAs and staff are so dedicated to our residents and patients. I’m very humbled by it because they work really, really hard.” Andi wants the nurses and staff of Consulate to know that she is thinking about them every day. Andi is delighted by the opportunity to talk with nurses and understanding their hopes and dreams, and how they bring these things to Consulate.
To be successful, Andi believes that it is very important to have a great team surrounding you. She said, “They (the team) will always be smarter than you.” Andi rattled off an extensive list of executives, nurses, and co-workers that are “great and make all the difference.” She also mentioned that Chris Bryson and Todd Mehaffey are servant leaders, and she could not do her job without them.
Regarding Core Values, Andi believes that Consulate nurses represent knowledge, compassion, and integrity. She believes that nurses can be taught clinical guidelines and protocols (the knowledge), but compassion and integrity are special inherent characteristics that Consulate nurses must have coming into the job.
Life outside work
Andi’s passion outside work can be summed up in one word, “family.” Together, Andi and her husband have six children and six grandchildren. They are truly the light of her life. She also enjoys travelling and reading about leadership.
Andi, Consulate is truly blessed by your leadership. Thank you for your guidance of our compassionate team of nurses who put our patients first every day.