New administrator takes over at Trinity
Elizabeth Letich has had her share of major life changes lately. She got married in October, and she took over recently as the head of a senior care campus that includes Trinity Care Center nursing home and Trinity Terrace senior apartments. The campus will add a 10-bed memory care unit later this year. Last week, she had to track down a new copy of her marriage certificate so she could officially change her driver's license from South Dakota to Minnesota.
We talked to her last week about her work history, her new job and reluctantly following in her mother's footsteps.
What's your background?
I've been with St. Francis Health Services, which owns Farmington and 10 other sites, for about two years now. I've been an administrator for a year and a half. Prior to coming to Farmington I was in Aitkin and Zumbrota, filling in as an interim administrator while the others were out. I think In Aitkin I was there for three, four months replacing someone on maternity leave and then in Zumbrota I was there for six months.
How did you end up in health care?
My mother is actually in health care and has been for a long time. So I was in and out of care centers for quite a lot of years.
So, your mom was actually working in care centers? In atmospheres kind of like this?
Yep. She started out in care centers and now she's a vice president for a corporation.
So, you hung around the care centers and thought, 'Hey, this is a place I'd like to work when I grow up?'
Not really, no. When I went to school I decided I wasn't going to do it and I didn't want to do anything with it. And then about two and a half years in, after wasting all that money, I decided that's where I'm going to go.
What changed your mind?
I don't know. I think it was just a good career path and it was something I knew I could do. It's just something I wanted to do.
And always with a goal toward the administrative side of it?
Yep. I couldn't be a nurse ever. I couldn't do the nursing things that they do, or have the knowledge to do all of that.
When you decided this is something I never, ever wanted to do, what was it? Was it just you didn't want to do the same thing as your mom?
Right. I had been in and out of it and I'd seen it. I'd just done it my whole life. I wanted something new, but I went right back to it.
It's where you were meant to be, apparently.
It works that way.
Are you enjoying it?
I'm really enjoying it. The group here is amazing.
Tell me about coming here. You were here before (former administrator Rich Ludwig) left.
I was at the Terrace, I think it was less than a year helping build our census and market it a little more. I was over there for a while. I didn't really have a lot to do with the care center part of it, but we did a lot at the Terrace and that was exciting and we upped our apartments quite a bit. So, there was success there when I was there. Then I went to Zumbrota and came back.
Did you know when you went to Zumbrota you were going to have the chance to come back?
I knew Rich was retiring and St. Francis had hired me as their interim. So when the chance presented itself, I would replace whoever left, and it was Rich. We had known that for about two years because he had his countdown.
Are you fitting in here so far? How has it gone?
It's gone really well. I am just amazed at all of the amazing people that work here. Everyone is awesome. Everyone's great. They take initiative. They care about the residents. They put the residents first and they care about their jobs.
What do you think is the best quality of the care center? Or of the campus?
The environment. The atmosphere that people make. Because you can go into some care centers and it's kind of sad and down and it doesn't really boost your spirits. But you walk into Farmington and I think Joy just puts in such a great atmosphere and all of her volunteers and everything she does.
What do you see as kind of the big challenges for the campus as you take over and go forward?
Getting to know the residents, the employees, the community. That will be a big part of it.
What about from the standpoint of just running the facility?
The memory care building is coming up, so that will be a big part, making sure we get it filled and marketed and people know about that.... The building is up. They're going to start working on the inside soon. They're hoping to have construction completed within April and maybe having people move in by May.
How has the response been to that?
Yeah. The more the better. It's still quite a long ways away, so it's hard to imagine people are going to reserve a room four months in advance.