Member Spotlight: Norma Fitzgerald of Longhouse-Northshire Care Center

September 23, 2019

In the words of Tom Christy, administrator at Longhouse-Northshire Care Center in Spencer, Norma Fitzgerald has been a “LONG-term employee.” Norma retired in July 2019 after being a devoted employee of Longhouse-Northshire for 49 years. Thank you, Norma, for your many years of dedicated service to the long-term care profession!

How did you get started in the long-term care profession?
In June of 1966 I moved across the street from Longhouse. In September of that same year, when my five children went back to school, I walked over and applied for a nurse’s aide position. The administrator called me that evening and asked me to start the next day. I left in June 1970 and came back in June 1974 and worked in the office for 10 years, then worked in the activities department until I retired in July 2019. I’ve loved every day of it.

What do you like most about working in long-term care?
In long-term care you are working with both the resident and their family. It’s a hard time for all and you become so close to them. They love a touch, a smile or a hug. It’s so great to hear about all the things in their life, both good and bad. Some have had a very hard life. We become family.

What would you tell others to encourage them to consider a career in long-term care?
It is most rewarding job you could have – to make residents feel loved and safe in their new home. You become so close to them and want to do all you can for them. It is a hard job, but one that results in rewards and a lot of joy.

What lessons have you learned working in long-term care that also help you outside of work?
Be kind to all people you come into contact with. Also, new ideas are not the only way to go. We need to listen to what other people have to say as well. It has helped me understand so much about people.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy my family, children, grandkids and great grandkids. I love having them come home for meals and making their favorite foods. The grandkids and great grandkids know there are always cookies in the freezer for them. I love to quilt, crochet, go to lunch with friends and neighbors, and I always enjoy being with my husband, Jack. We have been blessed with 67 years together.

What is your favorite quote and why?
To do unto others that you want done unto you. I have always said I treat people as they will hopefully treat me. I try to do my best every day to be kind to whoever I meet.

More about the Member Spotlight
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