Member Spotlight: Tom Harmsen of Granger Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

March 18, 2019

Tom Harmsen has a business background and a desire to demonstrate those skills while also directly making the world a better place. In his current role as director of admissions and marketing for Granger Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Granger, Iowa – he gets to do both. He enjoys assisting families navigate long-term care and helping them acclimate to their new season of life. Tom is a member of IHCA’s Public Relations Committee.

How did you get started in the long-term care profession?
My background is in sales and marketing, and I always had an interest in human services, as I think people are fascinating and I love to serve. I was looking for a career change three years ago and the opportunity at Granger Nursing and Rehabilitation Center came up at the perfect time. I desired a role where I could more directly help better the world and demonstrate my business skill sets at the same time, and my current role involves both daily.

What do you like most about working in long-term care?
In my role as a “transitioner of cares,” it is incredibly rewarding to encounter families and patients in vulnerable states and help them navigate the processes involved in establishing higher levels of care. Witnessing the peace of mind and clarity I help to offer patients and families during uncertain times, when they are perhaps skeptical of choosing to admit to long-term care, has been an amazing experience. Observing how well the patients and families acclimate to us and becoming part of their family during their stays is an honor. I love serving as the face for my organization and breaking down the stereotypes associated with nursing homes and making people feel comfortable with their choice to entrust in us.

What would you tell others to encourage them to consider a career in long-term care?
I have a business degree and background and never actually thought my path would lead to human services. All different types of backgrounds and skill sets are required to impact our patients and successfully operate a nursing home. Your heart really must be in this work, and sometimes who you are as a person and the kindness you demonstrate to people can mean more than what you know or can deliver.

What lessons have you learned working in long-term care that also helps you outside of work?
Patience. Kindness. Humility. Perseverance. The value of relationships and preventative care. Understanding the business end of skilled and long-term care has also shaped how I view finances and preparing for the future. There is more to people than you can appreciate from the exterior.

When you’re not at work, what do you enjoy doing?
I love spending time with my wife and son. We are outside as much as we can be. I enjoy exercise, traveling, home projects, reading and cooking.

What is your favorite quote and why?
“Live the life you love. Love the life you live.” The reason it is my favorite quote is because I feel it states that happiness is a choice and that you must be accountable to yourself before you can be accountable to others.