Leffler brings experience, heart to new role at Parkside Homes

A familiar face has accepted a new role at Parkside Homes Inc., Hills?boro, effective the first of March.

Tracy Leffler, who has been employed at Parkside in a number of nursing-related roles since joining the staff in August 1997, has been named health services coordinator.

According to administrator Gretchen Wagner, the job of the health services coordinator is essentially the same as a director of nursing, but the title has been changed to reflect with Parkside?s commitment to cultural change, which emphasizes the needs of residents rather than the traditional institutional model of care.

?As cultural change has progressed, some of the words we use are changed to be more social minded as opposed to medical minded,? Wagner said.

?In the nursing world, everybody knows what a director of nursing is, but outside the nursing world, people don?t understand that as much as getting their health care taken care of.?

Leffler started at Parkside as the night-shift charge nurse, and over the years has worked all three shifts as the charge?occasionally at the same time.

?Sometimes it just worked out that way,? Leffler said.

She then accepted the challenge of filling out state assessments and later the Medicare assessments, too.

?That transformed into RN (registered nurse) coordinator three years ago,? Leffler said. ?I would supervise different households in the main building and eventually one of the houses. I also am the nurse for assisted living so I get to see what goes on over there, too.?

When the former director of nursing left, Leffler accepted the role as interim Feb. 5, then agreed to be the permanent successor.

Wagner said Leffler?s tenure and range of experiences were key qualifications for the new assignment, but she brings additional strengths.

?She has a calm strength about her as a leader that provides security for the staff and the residents in trusting her leadership skills,? Wagner said.

?Parkside is committed to culture change through and through, and that is something that comes naturally to her,? she added. ?She thinks about the residents?it?s instinct. Who she is fits with Parkside?s mission, and that?s the most important thing.?

Leffler said she is excited about taking on the new role and the additional responsibilities that go with it, including coordinating the care of residents among nurses, nurse aides and medical aides.

Leffler said she has some ideas she?d like to implement.

?I see that we have some staff here we could use to our benefit,? Leffler said. ?They have some really good strengths. So instead of trying to hire others to come in, I?m want to use the staff we have because we have really good staff.

?By doing some shifting and rearranging, I?m hoping to make Parkside even better.?

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