Member Spotlight: Jessica Henkle of Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab

April 21, 2022

Jessica Henkle became interested in health care when she took a certified nursing assistant (CNA) class in high school. As the director of long-term care services at Virginia Gay Nursing and Rehab in Vinton, she encourages others to consider working in long-term care as more than just a stepping stone, but as a rewarding career and opportunity to impact the future of caring for the vulnerable and aging.

How did you become interested in the long-term care profession?
From a young age, I knew I wanted to be in health care, so when a group of friends enrolled in a CNA class in high school, I joined along with them.

What do you like most about working in long-term care?
I enjoy the familiarity of the residents and staff and the ability to build and develop long-term relationships. I love the science and systems that can turn challenges into opportunities to learn, grow and improve.

What would you tell others to encourage them to consider a career in long-term care?
Long-term care is often treated as a stepping stone to something more glamorous. I would challenge others to look at long-term care as a career. I would encourage others to consider the reward of caring for those who have shaped and developed our generations and given of themselves to contribute to our community and our world. It is also an opportunity to shape the future of how we want to be cared for as we age.

What lessons have you learned working in long-term care that also help outside of work?
To take a deep breath and think before reacting. Often times, things are not as they first appear, and sometimes asking clarifying questions can uncover situations that improve understanding.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family, tending to my pets and houseplants and spending time in meditation and self-development.

What is your favorite quote and why?
“You can do whatever you set your mind to if you just roll up your sleeves, get in there and do it. Everything is figureoutable.” ― Marie Forleo, Everything is Figureoutable

This quote shapes how I view my life. When challenges present themselves, we always have options. We just have to pick one and keep going.

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