Member Spotlight: Dawn Berrier of Manilla Manor

February 25, 2019

Dawn Berrier fell into the long-term care profession through an old friend when she moved to a small town. She is now the director of nursing (DON) at Manilla Manor in Manilla, Iowa and has worked in long-term care for over four decades.

How did you get started in the long-term care profession?
I moved from the city to a small town. I ran into an old friend who asked if I needed a job. I received a call from the DON of a nursing home, interviewed and the rest is history. I have worked in long-term care for 41 years.

What do you like most about working in long-term care?
There is something very special about the elderly. The women have lines on their faces and the men have callouses on their hands. They tell stories of the hard times they faced and how it drew them closer as a family. Those lines and callouses tell the stories. And those stories are awesome, sad and inspiring.

What would you tell others to encourage them to consider a career in long-term care?
I would tell them to come and see the people who helped shape what you enjoy. The elderly worked hard so you might have things. Now it is your turn to give back. Come listen to the stories, come visit, come see the enjoyment on their faces when visitors arrive. They have lost so much, so come help fill their needs.

What lessons have you learned working in long-term care that also helps you outside of work?
1. I have learned to appreciate all that I have here and now because it might possibly not always be this way.
2. I’d like to say patience, but I’m more patient with my residents than my family.
3. Pass along your stories.
4. Love your mom, dad, grandparents as they won’t always be here to enjoy.
5. Laugh often.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
I like to read – romances, westerns – doesn’t matter, really. I love music. Music from the 70s and 80s is the best. I love getting together with family and getting hugs and kisses from my grandkids. I love to travel.

What is your favorite quote and why?
“Jussayin.” I don’t know why – is that even a quote?