From the Courier-Journal

Nazareth Home named number one place to work by The Courier-Journal.

A worker at Nazareth Home assists and elderly resident from the dining room. The nursing home prides itself on hiring workers for their attitude as well as their skills. / ALEX DAVIS/SPECIAL TO THE COURIER-JOURNAL

Residents of Nazareth Home, at 2000 Newburg Road, include people who are recovering from surgeries such as knee transplants, people in assisted living who need a little help keeping their pills straight, and people nearing the end of life who need long-term nursing care.

In short, it’s a nursing home. And “no one,” Chief Executive Officer Mary Haynes said, “looks forward to using a nursing home.”

That makes it important for the management and staff “to convey a positive picture,” she said, to show that a nursing home “can be a warm, lovely, active community.”

Toward that end, Haynes said, management, working under the ownership of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, hires people for their attitude as well as for their skills – people who are happy, and who value cooperation.

Or, as Assistant Nursing Director Sandra O’Conner put it, people who really like “to make the magic happen.”

In addition to making a comfortable home for the residents, that approach apparently also makes for a good workplace. Nazareth Home came out on top of the Louisville area’s medium-size employer category – 110 to 349 employees – in Workplace Dynamics’s Top Workplaces program for this year.

Under the program, workplaces participate in employee surveys that are examined statistically to isolate places of employment where the workers feel they are well-treated and are advancing along their career paths, among other benefits.

Ruth Johnson had retired once before she joined the staff at Nazareth Home more than 10 years ago, and then she retired from Nazareth Home. Now she comes back and works “in the pool,” backing up the reception desk, filing and doing similar chores. It’s just a place she likes to be.

“It’s the whole environment,” she said. “I go out shopping and run into so many rude people. I come here to be happy.”

The home was built initially as a retirement facility for Nazareth, Ky.,-based Sisters, and later expanded to serve others. Extensive renovation in 2001 and 2002 made all of the rooms private and created special space for Nazareth Home’s dementia-care program.

The home has 168 residents and averages 250 employees, some of whom are part time. Employee benefits include medical, dental, disability and life programs, 401(k) investment opportunities with employer match, legal care, an employee assistance program and free financial-planning services.

Human Resources Director Jennifer Smith said the Workplace Dynamics award will help attract good employees to Nazareth Home.

“We want to attract happy people who want to provide good service,” she said.

But she it is perhaps more important that it will shed public light on the special kind of nursing home Nazareth Home is.

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