Blakeford’s Director of Nursing is a Natural Caregiver

This article was originally published in Main Street Nashville under the name Blakeford’s director of nursing is a natural caregiver by Tyler Hummel. You can view the original article here.

Today is National Caregivers Day, and caregiving is Kenyatta Wade’s passion.

Wade has served Nashville as a caregiver since 2010. She was named director of nursing at Blakeford at Green Hills, a senior care facility, in October and has worked there for four years. She previously worked for Avalon Health Care.

“My caregiving started at an early age,” Wade said. “I have siblings because I brought them home with me from school, from the neighborhood. They had circumstances that were not ideal. Even as a kid, instead of bringing home a pet, I brought home people. In high school I decided to go into nursing. Caring and loving is my language.”

Wade worked for Avalon for eight years until the family-owned company was purchased by a larger company. She worked on the floor and handled compliance and state regulations, working with the state’s Medicare and Medicaid policies. Blakeford approached her for a similar position, and she accepted it.

“I ended up coming to Blakeford through a consultant, and I fell in love,” she said.

Wade ended up in the director position because she took on multiple roles at Blakeford. She worked as a case manager while also assisting on the floor, assisting the director of nursing and helping to develop policies and procedures based on state and federal regulations.

Blakeford at Green Hills is a continuing care retirement community that provides long-term care, nursing facilities, independent living and assisted living. Wade primarily works in the health center.

She still tries to work on the floor, but she isn’t able to get into it as deep as she would like. Still, she speaks to all of the residents daily.

“The hardest part of transitioning positions is not always being available in the capacity they used to have me,” she said.

During the height of COVID-19, Wade watched Blakeford and its patients change quickly as the pandemic worked its way through the community.

“That was a bit of a challenge,” she said. “Blakeford has a community feel. Most of your patients and residents have grown up in the Green Hills and West Nashville area and know each other. They attend church together. When COVID hit, we had a lot of patients. We were a full house, and we lost a lot of those patients. I don’t think I’d ever dealt with loss on the level of feeling like you were losing a family member. It was hard balancing losing residents and having to pick up the pieces.”

Wade said she is proud of the hard work that her staff has done to address the needs of patients. Her staff made special accommodations earlier this month during the freezing weather to stay overnight and make sure the patients were never alone.

“It’s amazing. They packed … in case there was an ice storm,” Wade said. “They are the heartbeat of the company. They really go beyond. They sacrifice three to four days away from their family when it snows.”