Austin Heard, director of nursing at Life Care Center of Hixson, was named Life Care Centers of America’s Company-wide Director of Nursing of the Year on Monday.
The award is given to the director of nursing who demonstrates outstanding qualities in several areas, including customer service ratings, staff development and successful state surveys.
Mr. Heard received the award during Life Care’s Directors of Nursing Annual Meeting held in Cleveland. He was selected from all the directors of nursing in Life Care’s more than 200 skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities throughout the country.
“By his work and love, Austin sets and lives the standard of what a great director of nursing should be,” said Beecher Hunter, Life Care president.
“His nursing skills, his teaching capabilities and his compassion bring healing, hope and inspiration to residents, their families and the staff he directs.”
Mr. Heard was praised for his commitment to educating his staff. In February of 2017, he coordinated a training course for tracheotomy care so nursing associates could serve this population of patients, and he has required nursing staff to complete cardiology courses through Life Care’s online learning site. He also welcomes students from the local high school to do their certified nursing assistant clinical rotations at the facility.
“He is always looking out for the best interests of our patients,” said Matthew Cummings, executive director. “He gets involved and makes time to meet with the patients or their families if they have concerns. I have witnessed him work the floor on a med cart, take the treatment cart and provide wound care, work shifts as a CNA and order and put away stock.”
Mr. Heard not only serves patients and nursing staff at Life Care Center of Hixson, but he has mentored multiple DONs from fellow Life Care facilities to orient them to policies and procedures.
“My facility is nothing without the staff that works with me every day and the residents,” said Mr. Heard.
Life Care also honored eight division winners and a customer service award winner.
Life Care Center of Hixson, located at 5798 Hixson Home Place, is one of 27 skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities in Tennessee managed by Life Care Centers of America.