Heinzerling Community Employee is Honored with CECA Foundation Award

Congratulations to our very own Wendy Kyei, LPN, Supervisor/HMF, Heinzerling, for being honored as a Ceca Foundation Award Winner! Ceca partners with healthcare communities to recognize their outstanding caregivers more effectively by organizing Healthcare Staff Employee Recognition Programs. The Ceca Award program uses proven recognition techniques and innovative technology to celebrate high-touch acts of care that improve client satisfaction and lower burnout and turnover.

Read her award nomination below:

Caregiver Nominated:  Wendy Kyei, LPN, Supervisor/HMF, Heinzerling Community

Nominated By: Megan Blackstone

I am nominating my peer Wendy Kyei, LPN at Heinzerling Community. Wendy started at our facility as a DCA in 2016. She left her medical assisting job making $16.00 per hour to care for our residents making $8.75hr. It all started when Heinzerling had a job fair at the nursing school she was in at the time. They told her how flexible they were with student’s schedules and encouraged them to check out their Facebook page. Wendy did and was immediately drawn to the residents and our developmentally disabled population.

At the time, Wendy wanted to pursue psych nursing after graduation, and she thought working with this population would be an excellent start to her career. Wendy worked during her nursing school days as a DCA and cherished the bond she shared with the residents. “The smiles, my little secret keepers.” Our residents quickly became Wendy’s friends; she would tell them everything, and they would keep all her secrets. Nursing school is hard, and they soon became the people I could confide in and talk to. Even though they could not say anything back, I could tell by the gaze in their eyes or by their smiles that they were patting my back.

Wendy 3 years later graduated nursing school, by then she didn’t want to leave and pursue her nursing career elsewhere. Heinzerling was her home, and her residents were now her family. “I didn’t care about the money. l just wanted to see the residents and their smiles. I could keep them calm and make their day better. “Nursing is giving life to someone.”

In 2020 Wendy enlisted in the National Guard as a nutritionist/calorie specialist. She had to leave her residents and her family for 6months. Her biggest fear was being away from them and knowing they were growing and changing, and when she came back, she was likely going to see a little older-looking child than she had before, as children change and grow so quickly. She would frequently get on the Heinzerling Facebook page to glimpse what was happening in their world. The fear of missing a part of their lives that no one wants to miss when you truly love and care for someone was real for Wendy.

Once her six months had passed, she was back at Heinzerling working as a nurse with the residents she loved so dearly, and she soon was promoted to a supervisor role

where she expanded her leadership skills with leaps and bounds. She has not stopped growing and developing as a leader since, and the possibilities are endless for Wendy. “Heinzerling is my second home.” She has been known to tell her peers she has five children that all happen to be residents here at Heinzerling because, in Wendy’s eyes, they are her children. Their hearts, smiles, and he pats on the back got her through nursing school and six months at boot camp.

In March 2023, Wendy will leave for the Middle East for deployment as she serves our country. “I want to experience other things in the world so I can tell my residents.” Her biggest fear is leaving them, leaving the job she loves dearly and the family she loves so deeply. Wendy will always have a home at Heinzerling, and when she returns, we all will be waiting to “pat her on her back.” Our residents, family, coworkers, and peers love Wendy dearly, and Heinzerling would not be the same without her. I do not know any nurse who has ever loved their patients like Wendy. One day I, too, will experience the love for each one as Wendy has. I could not recommend another nurse who could show more compassion and dedication than Wendy, but only look up to her example and try to love just as much as she does.

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