A Chenango County nurse was honored this week with a statewide award.
Courtney Ericksen, 22, of Chase Memorial Nursing Home in New Berlin, received the LeadingAge New York 2019 Long Term Care Employee of Distinction award Wednesday.
The award recognizes the dedication of direct and indirect service staff that are not part of upper management, according to the website. Nominees may be recognized for positively affecting the quality of life of those they serve, significantly improving a service or program or showing a strong commitment to the organization, among other things.
"My biggest priority is making sure my residents are happy and healthy and clean and fed and I try to take as much time as I can to give them that little bit of extra one-on-one attention," Ericksen said. "I try to pick up a lot of shifts and help my coworkers out, try to make everyone's job a little bit easier."
State Sen. James L. Seward, R-Milford and Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch, R-Bainbridge, presented Ericksen with the award, which only 16 employees in LeadingAge New York's member organizations receive each year.
“Courtney Erickson’s commitment and compassion are among the reasons that Chase Memorial Nursing Home is a leader in nursing home care," Seward said in a media release. "Her dedication to the residents at the New Berlin home is evident, and her desire to take on new challenges is commendable.”
LeadingAge New York represents nonprofit, mission-driven and public continuing care providers including nursing homes, senior housing and adult care facilities, according to its website.
Ericksen is a licensed practical nurse who works as the overnight supervisor at Chase and has also worked as the unit manager, she said. Largely, she said, she passes medications, helps with personal care and communicates with the doctors. Ericksen became a certified nursing assistant while in high school. Then, the year after high school, she took her licensed practical nurse qualifications. An interest in health and how the body works, along with an enjoyment of helping people is what drew her to nursing, she said.
In addition to her full-time job, Ericksen is going back to school to become a registered nurse via an online, self-paced program of Excelsior College. She said she's been in the program for about a year and though balancing her job and schoolwork can be difficult, her coworkers have been very understanding.
"If it's time for finals and I need to take a couple of days off, the coworkers will jump in to cover my shift," she said. "I usually spend lunch break studying."
That type of support, Ericksen said, is part of why she loves working at Chase. Ericksen said though she wants to get experience working in other environments such as hospitals, she wants to stay with Chase even if it's just per diem work.
"Really it's such a homelike environment up there," Ericksen said. "It's like having another little family with all my residents and coworkers."
Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.