After 43 years of service, Aug. 28 would begin like any other workday for Kay Flanagan, assistant director of nursing at Chapel Hill Community in Canal Fulton, Ohio. However, in many ways, this day would be a series of lasts as she worked her final shift. She cleaned out her office, spent time visiting with residents and family members and passed along notebooks of information to staff who would take over her duties moving forward.
Kay has been described by her coworkers and supervisors as diligent, dedicated and a fierce advocate for residents and staff. Introduced to the community after a visit with her church choir at 12 years old in 1966, Kay graduated in 1975 from Akron General Medical School of Nursing. Her first position at Chapel Hill was as staff nurse when Rev. Robert Hegnauer was administrator. Rev. Hegnauer had been Kay’s pastor and baptized her as a baby.
A Legacy of Compassionate Care
Over the years, Kay has been a constant through numerous additions and renovations. She has worked with at least 11 administrators and 11 directors of nursing (DON). Kay became acting DON between each new leader. She has overseen more than 7,000 admissions and cared for thousands of residents, their families and staff.
“Her car was the first car I saw in the parking lot in the morning and the last car remaining in the parking lot at night,” said Debbie Durbin, executive director, Chapel Hill Community. “Kay was part of the fabric and history of Chapel Hill Community. She
was our unofficial historian!”
When asked what makes Chapel Hill unique, Kay did not hesitate. “United Church Homes always has been a front-runner in the long-term care profession, and that’s because of the residents, families and staff.”
As for advice Kay has for new nurses, she encourages them to look for the bright side in all they do. “There will be few perfect days but strive to make every day the best that it can be,” she said.