The Taj Mahal of Health Care

“I knew I liked Noble as soon as I arrived,” reflected Martina Sprague,  a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and now, thanks to Noble’s tuition assistance program, also a certified nurse. “It's a different feeling here. This place feels like a home to everyone who lives and works here. I think of it as the Taj Mahal of long-term care.”  

Among Martina’s many talents is her capacity to juggle multiple priorities with alacrity.  Martina is a talented equestrian, for instance, a sport requiring a prodigious time commitment and yet in the last two years, she has not only pursued her love for riding but has worked multiple jobs while pursuing a degree in nursing at a university an hour and a half from her home. Martina graduated from UCONN in 2016 with a degree in English but felt her passions guiding her toward a nursing career.  After sitting down with a friend who took part in an accelerated nursing program in Boston, Martina made a life-changing career choice. What followed was a rapid succession of accomplishments that in just two years propelled Martina to a career in nursing, made possible with generous assistance from the Noble Horizons Employee Scholarship Fund.

Martina began her transition from English major to nurse as a student in Northwestern Connecticut Community College’s well-regarded CNA program.  During her CNA training, she began to diversify her healthcare experiences by working as a scribe in Great Barrington’s Fairview Hospital Emergency Room and volunteering with Volunteers in Medicine Berkshires. After completing the CNA program, she was hired by Noble Horizons; "I had heard about Noble and really wanted to work here."  Shortly after, she enrolled in the accelerated one-year Bachelor of Science Nursing program at UCONN for which she received financial assistance from Noble’s Employee Scholarship Program. “I’m thankful that Noble Horizons and generous members of our community have helped me come this far. I have been reimbursed each semester, and each semester my tuition bill has been almost matched completely.”  As a result, Martina takes the time to send thank you cards to those who have contributed to Noble’s staff tuition fund, “It's so important to thank those who support you in the community and it's nice to know that the people here can follow your journey.”

Aided by Noble’s tuition assistance and the Nursing Department’s offer to create a work schedule around her classes, the ambitious and tireless Martina completed her nursing degree in just two years.  “We all work together here and look out for each other; for me personally, it's been so nice to have the people you work with understand hectic schedules; it motivates me to keep going.”  Shortly before Martina graduated, she interviewed for a nursing position at Hartford Hospital and was offered a job the next day.

Despite her new position, she remains deeply committed to working at Noble Horizons.  “Noble Horizons has helped me come to a point in my life where I can go anywhere, but I want to stay here.  I just help where I can.”  While this includes working double-shifts and on holidays, it is the spirit of support among the nurses and CNAs that has touched Martina so deeply.  “I want to stay here because I love it.  Everybody looks out for each other. It is a really understanding, supportive community.  I love the residents and the families and my co-workers.  I like the feeling of Noble-I really appreciate being here-there is a feeling of home."  

Go back

Recent Blog Posts View All

For 15 years,  Linda Castaldi has been welcoming people to Noble Horizons. “I’m the first voice people hear when they call Noble,” Linda describes, “I’m always in contact with residents’ families, helping them feel at ease and providing them with information.”

When you ask Laurie Frey what she does at Noble Horizons you quickly realize there is very little she doesn’t do. From personnel to housekeeping, laundry to the reception desk, Laurie Frey does it all ... with boundless energy, an infectious smile and a deep fondness for Noble residents and their families. “I like to do different things, and I love to do anything that brings me in contact with the residents. I enjoy having a bond with them.”

Today’s birding blog brings me back to Massachusetts, more specifically the town of Sheffield. The location is Bartholomew’s Cobble, a property owned by the Trustees of the Reservation (the same organization that maintains Field Farm), a location that was chock full of birds and one of the most beautiful locations that I have visited for this blog series.

In 2007, community leader Karen Kisslinger, a local acupuncturist, organic gardener, and meditation teacher first proposed the idea of a farmers market in the village of Millerton, NY. Around that time, Mrs. Kisslinger also ran a popular youth program at the North East Community Center called “Partners for Children." Karen, who was married to physician Rob Dweck, had been nurturing and nourishing the community for many years and recognized the need to promote local farms and healthy food sources within rural communities. Karen went on to approach then Executive Director of the NECC Jenny Hansell who — as fate would have it — had experience with Greenmarkets in New York City. Ms.Hansell expounded on Karen’s idea by promoting the use of teen interns in farming and marketing. Today, Karen’s contributions and legacy live on in the 13 continuous seasons of market operation on the grounds of the Millerton Methodist Church.