Molly Tanner, recently appointed Director of Nursing at Noble Horizons, has cherished her relationships with seniors her whole life. “I was raised by my grandparents, so my love for that population was already there.”
Molly began her nursing career as a CNA (certified nursing assistant) but after raising her three children, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. Like many women who have put families first, she felt it was time to do something for herself. Ironically her decision has actually benefited countless members of the tristate community who have been in Molly’s good hands.
After completing her nursing degree, she went to work at a senior healthcare community, rising up through the ranks quickly. “I really believe that if you put in the hard work and effort, people will recognize you. In the three years after graduating from nursing school, I went from charge nurse to nursing supervisor.”
Along the way, Molly accumulated expertise in wound care, infection control, and staff education. It’s this expertise that she brought to Noble Horizons. Hired as a staff nurse, she took on the staff educator role and as is her style, within the year she quickly moved up again to associate director of nursing, which has a healthy dose of infection control as part of the position. “Infection control is ongoing. Education and regular surveillance is a huge piece of that in every department. Practices such as proper handwashing and use of PPE (personal protective equipment) are part of what I look for as I make my rounds two to three times a day.”
In between those rounds she makes sure every department and floor at Noble are adhering to safety guidelines and government regulations. “I’ve got three huge binders where I keep track of what we’re doing. It’s all good stuff and it’s a huge part of working in a healthcare environment.” Molly is quick to credit the Noble team for their dedication and teamwork. “Kudos to our staff. They’re well-educated and doing the right things by our residents.”
Molly’s infection control expertise has been crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. “My role has definitely changed. From the moment I get into the building, my whole thought process is devoted to COVID and how to keep it out of Noble.” For Molly and the entire Noble team, the situation is fluid and the care landscape alters on a daily basis. “I sit down with Bill (Pond) every day to see what changes we need to make and relay that information to staff as needed.”
Molly is also responsible for making sure that Noble staff has the necessary protective equipment. “I meet with Carrie, our staff supplier every day and we go over the gowns, masks, gloves, sanitizer, and wipes used the day before and check what we have in inventory. If we’re running low, I figure out how to get what we need.” PPE donations from The Hotchkiss School and Salisbury School have fortified a robust inventory of safety supplies.
“We’re ever so grateful for all the donations we’ve received. The community has reached out to help and everyone is beyond amazing. We feel so appreciated and validated by the gratitude of people for the work we’re doing.” Contributions from businesses, individuals, and family members coupled with expressions of support like the hearts that pop up on trees, windows, and the front lawn bolster spirits enormously.
Molly saves her deepest gratitude for her team who work tirelessly to ensure the safety and health of Noble residents. “My coworkers are so dedicated and committed. Their acceptance of and attention to procedures is critical. We set expectations and they meet them. We have daily meetings that are about all of us putting our heads together to keep everyone safe,” she acknowledges.
Molly speculates about the future post-pandemic. She asserts, “I think it will always be in the back of people’s minds for years to come. We’ll pay more attention to hygiene, like handwashing. We’ll be thinking about how we can prevent something like this in the future. And while I’m dealing with this today, I’m thinking about what we are learning now at Noble and how we put that to use in the future.” Molly and Bill’s post-pandemic plans include a zero-pressure room and several other systems to further safeguard the environment at Noble.
One of the measures Noble is taking now that Molly sees as beneficial for the future is the use of telehealth opportunities to serve patients and treat them in place. “This is ideal for some of our residents. Getting them to a doctor’s appointment is exhausting and emotionally draining. To have a video conversation with a doctor is much less stressful,” she explains. During this time nurses are in daily contact with consulting physicians about patient care allowing residents to be treated at Noble and avoid going to the hospital. Advanced training by the nurses has allowed Noble to offer more onsite procedures, further reducing the need to disrupt residents with a trip to the hospital.
Molly’s careful and meticulous approach to infection control has allowed Noble to keep it’s COVID cases to zero at this point in time. While nothing is guaranteed and events change rapidly, she and the Noble staff are keeping the curve flat and residents safe and healthy.