Chris Jensen nurse honored for ‘passion about the work’Jean Singler, a registered nurse who serves as assistant director of nursing and director of staff education for Chris Jensen, was recognized earlier this month for her leadership at the Duluth care center.
By: Tom Olsen, Duluth Budgeteer News
Jean Singler does a little bit of everything at the Chris Jensen Health and Rehabilitation Center. She teaches fellow staff members and screens job applicants, but she still makes sure to keep up-to-date with residents and their families.
Singler, a registered nurse who serves as assistant director of nursing and director of staff education for Chris Jensen, was recognized earlier this month for her leadership at the Duluth care center.
She received the 2013 Ray Johnson Leadership in Action Award from Aging Services of Minnesota on Feb. 8.
“She’s awesome — I don’t have a bad thing to say about her,” Jill Hess, administrator of Chris Jensen, said of Singler. “Jean is very passionate about the work that she does and that comes across in the work that she does.”
Hess and other managers at Chris Jensen put together an application for Singler, keeping it a secret until they told her she had won. Singler accepted the award in St. Paul earlier this month with coworkers on hand.
Aging Services of Minnesota gives six individual awards every year for caregivers, leaders, volunteers and trustees. Singler is the first winner from Chris Jensen, and possibly the first from the Arrowhead region.
Singler, a 19-year employee, works both in the long-term care facilities and the rehabilitation area at Chris Jensen. The best part, she said, is working the residents and patients.
“The very, very best things are the residents because they’re wonderful,” she said. “They are interesting, they are funny. It is just that they have a wealth of knowledge and experiences that they love to share, and I love taking care of them and helping them.”
While she’s become a fixture at Chris Jensen, Singler almost took another path in her career.
“I didn’t mean to come here and work,” she said. There weren’t any jobs open at the hospitals when I moved here from Chicago. I came here and said, ‘I’ll work here until something opens up at the hospital.’ I came in and started working and (the patients) kind of just grabbed my heart. It just surprised me how much I enjoyed working with them.”
Besides working with patients, Singler is responsible for teaching and coordinating fellow nurses.
Stephanie Schmid, a nursing assistant at Chris Jensen, said Singler does a great job of keeping the entire nursing staff up-to-date on issues involving and preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
“She really cares about her job and you can tell,” Schmid said. “She does a good job and she’s very thorough. She knows what she’s talking about.”
Laurie Bahr, the facility’s business manager, said Singler’s leadership qualities are best exemplified by the story of how Singler once drove to a sister facility in Ely to handle a safety issue after working a full shift at Chris Jensen. She worked about 24 hours straight, Bahr said, and ensured that the Ely staff was properly trained before leaving.
“Jean always says to do your job with pride so that you can sign your name on it,” said Bahr, who coordinated Singler’s nomination. “As the education and training director, she not only believes what she teaches, but she makes a point of using those skills with the residents.”
Singler said she was honored to receive the award, and even though her coworkers like to bring it up, she’s just taking it in stride.
“It was very humbling. I’m really lucky to have a job I love and get paid to do something I like,” she said. “It’s a big deal, they keep telling me. So I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a big deal.”