The last two years have shown just how important the caring professions are, and just how important it is for people in the caring professions to take care of themselves, attending to their own well-being while pursuing career growth.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic made those facts evident to all, they served as guiding principles for CareOne, the largest privately owned assisted living and health care provider in New Jersey. Since its establishment almost 50 years ago, CareOne has grown by providing career opportunities, a high-quality work environment, and work-life balance to its 11,000+ team members who provide high-quality care and life-enriching services to the residents of CareOne’s 34 communities across the Garden State and at communities in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Maryland. Two of those team members recently shared their stories to encourage others to explore current employment opportunities and join them on the CareOne team.
How CareOne Speaks This Speech Pathologist’s Language
Speech pathologist Liana Romano, MS, joined CareOne in 2014, working with residents of the organization’s communities in Paramus and Ridgewood. Opportunities for advancement came quickly. “I developed into a lead therapist and helped mentor graduate students and clinical fellows in speech pathology,” Romano said of her career progression. “CareOne was developing leadership roles for people working with residents affected by dementia, so I started that educational process in 2018, and eventually transitioned into my current role as a dementia care specialist at CareOne Paramus.”
When asked what she likes about working at CareOne, Romano listed several attractive features, including:
- flexibility to explore different roles
- training and support needed to excel in a new role
- team approach to care
- commitment to residents and their families
- recognition that team members have personal lives as well as professional lives
- opportunity to advance within a large and growing organization
“While my current role as a dementia care specialist wasn’t on my radar when CareOne approached me about it, they gave me a mentor who I was able to observe working in a memory care community in East Brunswick and who later came to my community to help me get organized and set goals,” Romano said. “CareOne supports the Positive Care Approach, and the administrators are excellent — they are very approachable and give clear direction.”
Romano added, “Everyone works together here, and they have your back. We’re hard workers and always have our residents in mind, no matter what we do,” she said. “It’s a dynamic and inclusive environment where everyone’s opinion matters. It’s also a very family-oriented environment, and the residents and families are wonderful and very appreciative. While it can be challenging to ‘discover’ our residents beneath their memory impairments, we’re very interested in getting to know them as people so that we can honor and cater to their individuality. It’s so rewarding when their whole personality comes out and you get to see that spark.”
When asked to cite the key traits needed for career advancement within CareOne, Romano said, “You have to be ambitious, kind and willing to be a leader in any role. But if you’re driven and committed to the work you’re doing, the sky’s the limit at CareOne.”
From Hospital-based Acute Care Nursing to Dementia Care
Mary Beth Rose, RN, had devoted her entire career to providing acute care to hospital patients before being appointed assistant director of nursing at the CareOne community in Paramus in 2017.
“I’ve been practicing nursing for 40 years, and it was quite a transition to go from acute care nursing to assisted living, but the memory care community at CareOne in Paramus fell under my jurisdiction, and I love working with dementia residents. Even though our residents may be living with dementia and can’t tell you details about themselves, I truly enjoy working with this population because I feel vs. know that everybody deserves to be loved and treated with dignity. Everyone’s life should have a purpose,” said Rose, who currently is a dementia care specialist at the CareOne communities in Livingston and Parsippany.
“When CareOne recognizes someone’s interest in and talent for a position, they’ll give you the support you need — whether it’s training, a mentor, or just the opportunity to advance into something different and change your entire career, even after 40 years,” Rose said of the new direction CareOne helped her take as a dementia care specialist.
The veteran nurse explained, “I truly feel like I’m a new graduate who has found her passion because CareOne recognized my interests and abilities and invested in having me participate in their Dementia Care Specialist program. CareOne continues to send me for the training and education I need to support our residents, families and staff.
“As a dementia care specialist, my role is to assess the level of cognition of someone living with dementia and develop a plan of care that’s unique to them and focused on keeping them as independent as possible,” she noted. “I love working closely with our residents’ families, helping to create a warm, inviting and loving home for each resident, and ensuring that their life is meaningful at any stage of dementia.”
Rose added that CareOne recognizes and supports its employees’ work-life balance. “They know that their employees need to take care of themselves and their families in order to take care of others, and they give you the tools you need to do your job. They’re truly focused on my safety and well-being.”
She concluded, “I love the community and team of colleagues and residents I work with. It’s a privilege to care for our residents and to work for CareOne, and I never want to leave.”
Exploring Current Opportunities
CareOne has several employment opportunities for people interested in a variety of positions. Open positions encompass both those for people with specific training, degrees or credentials and for people who have a desire to work in the caring professions but do not yet have direct experience or specific training in the field.