Member Spotlight: Jennifer Boots of Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab

March 17, 2022

After seeing her grandfather in a long-term care facility, Jennifer Boots was inspired to care for people who could no longer care for themselves. As a certified nursing assistant and oral med tech at Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab in Vinton, she enjoys hearing life stories from residents and making a positive impact in their lives.

How did you get interested in the long-term care profession?
I started working in an assisted living when I was pregnant with my last daughter. I had two older children and I was ready for a change. I decided to further my education to become a health care worker in a long-term care facility. I had a grandfather who was in a long-term care facility, and I knew I was meant to do just that — take care of people who could no longer take care of themselves.

What do you like most about working in long-term care?
The residents have stories to be told, and I enjoy listening to them as they remember back and until the present time. They have many stories and have lived hard lives. I enjoy every moment of every night that I work, and I enjoy learning something new about a resident. I can tell that the residents who cannot speak can recognize me when I enter the room by the look on their face and their smiles that I see every night. That’s how I know I have made a difference in their lives.

What would you tell others to encourage them to consider a career in long-term care?
I tell others that working in health care and long-term care is very rewarding. The residents that you take care of are very fragile and they are 100% human. So, it does take a special kind of person to take care of the elderly. You have to be kind, considerate, energetic, know how to love other people and respect their boundaries.

What lessons have you learned working in long-term care that also helps outside of work?
I have learned how to be very patient, understanding and communicate well with others. I have also learned that I am not too old to learn something new. Rules and regulations change all the time, and you have to learn how to adapt to change. That is a struggle that I have at work and outside of work. We carry lessons with us throughout our lives and try to teach the younger generation how to adapt as well.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my husband, grown children, grandchildren, best friend and my dog. Before COVID-19, I enjoyed shopping in large malls, being entertained at theaters, going to theme parks and generally just being outdoors in the fresh air.

What is your favorite quote and why?
My favorite quote is, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.” I suffer from fibromyalgia, depression and anxiety, so this quote makes me get through each day in a positive manner, knowing that tomorrow will come. I have to keep pushing forward. People are counting on me.

More about the Member Spotlight
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