Cathy Eblen, RN, Director of Nursing
Amira Choice-Formerly Cherrywood Pointe Minnetonka
Twenty years ago, Cathy Eblen was working in Hutchinson, MN in the topsy-turvy computer hardware industry. When she began the journey of seeing her mom through lung cancer treatment, it provided an opening she wasn’t expecting. The care and compassion she and her mom received from the doctors and nurses made a tremendous impression. After her mom’s passing, it became crystal clear that serving elders in senior living is what she wanted for her life’s work.
Principled And Pragmatic
Cathy’s first comment about her work was to say “I take seriously the oath I took to protect those I serve.” Investing personally with her assisted living and memory care residents is her default approach. Doing so is not only kind, but provides better care by creating trust and openness with resident and family. “I like connecting with my seniors and learning their story and journey.” The relationship itself becomes therapeutic.
When a resident wanted to go off his feeding tube, against medical advice, Cathy worked at great length with the resident, family, staff and physician to deeply understand the resident’s wishes. After much informing, documenting and exhausting other measures the resident’s wishes were fulfilled. The food by mouth meant enough to him that it was worth the risk. Despite the consequences the family appreciated the dignity the process provided.
Residents Benefit As Do Her Staff
The residents are not alone in benefiting from Cathy’s dedication. She has also invested her passion in training and mentoring her employees. The first practicality she infuses is conveying to staff that the residents are customers and customers provide work which in turn produces paychecks! And happy customers draw more of them, all leading to a career quality environment and culture that can last for many years. So, to that end Cathy lives the philosophy of get it right the first time.
Cathy explained “I’m very hands-on with my staff and enjoy connecting with my employees. I like keeping up with the latest best-practices and methods and then spend the time necessary to teach it correctly the first time and every time until staff have it right as well.”
When Choice Connections asked about Cathy, praise was easy to come by. “I had the pleasure of working with Cathy Eblen as my clinical partner. Cathy is a leader who builds trust with the people she works with and is not afraid to roll up her sleeves to help wherever it is needed. Cathy has shown an unwavering dedication to the families, residents, and staff of Amira Choice Minnetonka. She is one of the best nurses that I have worked with in my 25 years in senior living.” That is high praise from Janelle Meyers, a veteran administrator, senior care industry leader and mentor. Cathy was equally appreciative of Janelle’s supervision, “Janelle encouraged me to push forward in my leadership training and gave me the courage to pursue the further education I needed. She was a very good mentor to me!”