January 16, 2020

Staff Award Recipient Lives Our Values

As community partners, staff members, and donors anticipated hearing the first-ever Concord Regional VNA Living Our Values award recipient to be announced at the agency’s 120th Anniversary Event, Cindy Bergeron waited, not expecting to hear her name called. Moments later, she was shocked. 

“I was very humbled and very surprised,” she said after being honored as the inaugural recipient of the peer-nominated award. “I was so overwhelmed with the comments and the cards, and the time that people took to reach out to me to share why they thought I was so deserving of the award.”

Twenty-seven employees were nominated, and the honoree was chosen based on who best demonstrated the agency’s values (Respect, Compassion, Competence, Culture of Excellence, Leadership, Stewardship) in their actions with patients, families, community members, donors, volunteers, and co-workers.

The colleagues who nominated Cindy for the award noted, “Cindy’s interactions with patients and families are nothing short of amazing,” and, “Cindy’s commitment to her work and the agency inspires others to want to do and be better, work harder, and achieve more.”

More than 14 years ago, she was hired as a home care registered nurse before becoming a manager and was promoted to director of paraprofessional services late last year.

Why Nursing?
Cindy graduated from Plymouth High School, moved to the Concord area and attended NH Technical Institute to become a dental assistant. Once her children moved on to elementary school, she decided to return to college to become a nurse, her true love.

“I come from a long line of nurses,” Cindy explained.“My godmother, my aunts, cousins. That is what I knew as a young girl growing up. I was also the oldest of four in our family, so I took care of everybody.”

“The dynamics of our family were different, so I was responsible for care and it just seemed natural to me,” she said. “It’s just always been something I would do and I’m not disappointed in any way. I still love it to this day.”

During nursing school, Cindy traveled with Concord Regional VNA staff members and job shadowed as part of her clinical rotation. She immediately knew that working at our agency was right for her. Before applying, she was required to have one year of experience and she chose HealthSouth (now Encompass Health).

“One of my instructors in nursing school highly encouraged me to do rehab knowing that I wanted to do home care,” she said. “That was the best decision I ever made because patients coming out of an acute care setting are either going to rehab or going home.”

“The acute rehab really prepared me for Concord Regional VNA,” she added. “Almost one year to the day, I applied and interviewed and got the job. It was the best thing I ever did and I’m still here nearly 15 years later.”

A Growing Organization
As Cindy worked at Concord Regional VNA, the agency continued to grow and serve more community members.

“When I started, my managers described the agency as being large, but with a small business feel to it,” she said. “We are much larger than we were 15 years ago. The agency still tries to have an intimate feel. We know our employees. People still know each other by name. We are not so large of an agency that we do not recognize someone by name.”

One of the biggest differences between now and then is the availability of technology.

“Technology made our care better,” she said. “We have information at our fingertips that we did not have before. I went into a home with paper and a visit note from the prior visit.” 

“Today with our computer systems, we have access to not just one visit, but all visits so that you can identify a picture of where patients started with their care and where they are going with our goals,” Cindy added. “Our care is more patient-centered now that we can center on their needs. It is a much better tool for us.”

Becoming a Manager
Cindy misses the satisfaction of easing a patient’s anxiety and helping them realize that their health challenges will be addressed.

“If you are having a difficult day, sometimes you leave a home and realize that they gave you so much more than you could have ever given them,” she said. “I learned a lot of lessons that way.”

Moving from being a home care nurse to a manager was an adjustment. At the beginning, Cindy had second thoughts.

“For the first year, I felt like a fish out of water,” she said. “I wanted to go back to what I knew and what I knew at the time was that I was at the top of my game and doing the things I really excelled at.”

“I forced myself to stay and give it a chance and learn a new approach to nursing so that I could be just as effective as a nurse in a management role as I could at the bedside,” Cindy said. “It took about a year to really make a difference or even know what I was doing. Since then, I have really enjoyed leadership and management.”