Member Spotlight: Stephanie Schlegelmilch of Salem Lutheran Homes

February 23, 2022

Stephanie Schlegelmilch was first introduced to long-term care when she accompanied her mother to do hair at a retirement home. Stephanie eventually began working in the kitchen, became a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and received her registered nursing (RN) degree. Stephanie is an IHCA Leadership Academy participant and the director of nursing at Salem Lutheran Homes in Elk Horn, where she finds it rewarding to care for others.

How did you get interested in the long-term care profession?
When I was young, my mother did hair at a retirement home. I would go with her and paint the ladies’ (or guys’) nails while they got their hair done. I then got a job in the kitchen at the retirement home, became a CNA in high school and continued my education until I finished my RN degree.

What do you like most about working in long-term care?
I enjoy my relationships with the residents and their families. I enjoy having all the staff together and not so divided. I cherish all the lessons the residents can teach me.

What would you tell others to encourage them to consider a career in long-term care?
If you want to do something rewarding, take care of someone who can’t care for themselves anymore. It is the most rewarding job I’ve had. It makes a huge impact on the resident, which then makes an impact on yourself. Working in health care is not for the weak, it is very hard-earned money and memories!

What lessons have you learned working in long-term care that also helps outside of work?
Life is short, enjoy it!

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, camping and attending sporting events and concerts.

What is your favorite quote and why?
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Any journey can be scary, any new decision can be scary and seem so impossible, but you won’t know until you try it.

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