Rhonda Tanberg, vice president and administrator of Trinity Homes in Minot, has always enjoyed grandmas and grandpas and spends her days in their surroundings.
In 1975, Tanberg started a career in health care as a nursing assistant and worked in an acute care setting for 15 years in various departments, such as oncology, pediatrics, surgery and hospital supervision. She received her nursing diploma from Trinity School of Nursing in Minot in 1983, then went back to school in 2002 for a bachelor's degree in nursing. In 2007, Tanberg returned to the geriatric field where she's been ever since, and took the administrator's course in 2010.
It's been a year and a half since Tanberg became administrator of Trinity Homes, starting in February 2011.
Jill Hambek/MDN • Rhonda Tanberg, vice president and administrator of Trinity Homes in Minot, is shown in her office Thursday afternoon. She has various roles in her position, some days going from serving food at a picnic for the residents to conducting interviews for potential employees.
There was a lot crammed in her first year since she was there during the flood, she said. She said they had 24 hours to evacuate the 242 residents, sending them to 50 different nursing facilities in North Dakota, and it was very hard on the residents and staff. There was a big welcoming toward them from the other facilities, though, Tanberg added.
From May 31 to Aug. 1, they were out of the building and when the residents finally were able to return, Tanberg said some of the residents were so happy to be back home that they cried. "It was a hard experience, but everyone did really well," she remarked. "I never thought we'd have to evacuate an entire nursing home, but we were very prepared for emergencies."
Tanberg said she has always enjoyed the elderly and listening to stories about their past lives. "I like doing whatever I can to make their lives more comfortable. That gives me great satisfaction," she noted.
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There are various roles Tanberg plays as vice president and administrator of the nursing home. As the vice president, she oversees Kenmare's community health center, she said. She's also the overseer in the nursing facility following state regulations, she added. There are 350 nurses who Tanberg is in charge of and is also directly responsible for the operations of the facility.
A typical day at the office for Tanberg consists of checking email and voice mail messages, responding to the needs of the staff and residents, and attending meetings. There's a meeting every morning at 9 to talk about what's going on, she said, and there are also meetings at other times with managers, other vice presidents and the chief executive officer.
"It's hard to say what I do on a daily basis because every day is different," Tanberg noted. "It all depends on what's going on."
She's gone from serving food at the residents' picnic to conducting interviews with prospective employees in a day. "My main goal is to provide quality care to residents and I want to make sure there's staff, resident and resident's family satisfaction," she said.
There hasn't been a noticeable increase in people coming to live at Trinity Homes, Tanberg said, but she has noticed that because of the assisted-living facilities, Trinity Homes will get referrals from there most of the time. "People come here when their medical and physical needs are too much for their caregivers to handle," she said.
Two different categories of people stay at the nursing home, which has been a change,Tanberg said. There are the people coming in for rehabilitation for strengthening and independence who are then sent home when they recover, and there are the people who can no longer care for themselves or their families can no longer care for them, she explained. Trinity Homes also gets residents coming in after receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatments or kidney dialysis treatments and then return to their homes when they feel better, Tanberg added.
"We all get attached to the residents," Tanberg said. "They all have special needs and hold a special place in our hearts." She said they also become members of their family, and the staff gets close to the residents' families.
From an administrative standpoint, the most difficult part has been seeing everything the employees of Trinity Homes have gone through in the past year, Tanberg said. It's difficult trying to maintain staff when competing with other industries, she said. "Staffing is always an issue."
A favorite part of Tanberg's job is the residents and staff, she said without hesitation. "I couldn't do what I do without having the quality of staff that I do. We have an amazing staff and I sincerely mean that," she said. Everyone works together, too, she added. "We stress at this facility that one position isn't more or less important than any other."
Seeing the smiles on the residents and families faces is the most rewarding aspect of her job at Trinity Homes, Tanberg said. "It's rewarding to see the joys they get from the little things in life, like seeing them get up and dance if there's music."