Haley Holland had a good feeling about her test when she left the exam room on a Friday morning. She turned in her exam without reviewing it to prevent her from second-guessing herself. And her proctor indicated she likely passed her long-term care administrator’s licensure exam.
The weekend was more celebratory than stressed. The Virginia Board of Long-Term Care Administrators confirmed her license by Tuesday.
Haley started at Virginia Health Services as the recreation director at Coliseum Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She entered the Administrator-in-Training (AIT) program near the beginning of the year and completed her hours while on the job. She was promoted to Coliseum’s Assistant Administrator in the spring.
“Coliseum is so diverse, anything that’s going to happen in long-term care, it’s going to happen at Coliseum,” she says. “I know that I am where I need to be right now so I can get the best experience that I can.”
Haley shadowed employees in all departments to understand their roles during the AIT program. While day-to-day focuses on operations and environmental services, Haley said she also needed to focus on finance, management and leadership.
The exam sections covered finance, customer care support and services, human resources, environmental services and management.
Time with Coliseum Administrator Dudley Haas and several VHS vice presidents was valuable to the learning process. Those conversations and notes of encouragement also were valuable personally.
“I really felt encouraged, like people cared that I was taking this test and wanting to advance in VHS,” Haley says.
She observed Dudley’s leadership through interactions with team members, Residents and their families. Haley walked through financials and asked questions all while helping to manage the day-to-day operations at Coliseum.
“The last two weeks of preparation, I studied any time I had free time. Any time. I had my flashcards everywhere,” she says. “I was constantly taking practice tests; looking at my flashcards … I asked anybody who walked through Coliseum questions. I recruited a lot of people to help me study.
“Dudley said, ‘I want to see you do well.’ ”
A majority of the questions on the licensure exam focused on Resident care, or regulations regarding Resident care and environmental services.
“It gets you to think about what’s the best route for everyone involved. … A lot of the questions were things I do day-to-day,” Haley says. The study materials helped immensely.
Drawn to senior care
Haley says her first job out of college was in an assisted living with focused memory care.
“I just knew it was going to be older adults the rest of my career,” she says after initially considering being a teacher.
She loves the Resident stories and learning from their life experiences. Eventually she says she may want to be an administrator for assisted living, where there are fewer regulations that control the Resident experience.
“At the facility, you see exactly what your efforts are doing. You have a direct line to the Residents,” she says.
Promoting from within
Haley said she was encouraged to enroll in the AIT program and used her time on the job to gain the hours needed to complete the program.
She says the administrator’s license provides her with multiple opportunities in long-term care. It was the best way forward in her career.
“It broadened my horizons with my future … doing the AIT and taking my exam, the possibilities are endless,” she says of what might be next. Right now, Coliseum is where she wants to be.
She plans to keep up her continued education credits for her license. Haley’s future paths could include assisted living, independent living or a specialization within long-term care, such as memory care or dialysis.
“It’s just exciting – opens up possibilities for a lot of things with my license,” she says.
VHS is committed to workforce development and promotes from within.
“The support that I get (from the team at VHS) is incredible,” she says. “Things like that, people really care; you feel supported and you can keep moving. I’m really thankful VHS helped financially with the test and the AIT. Overall, I’m grateful for the VHS community.”
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