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Morgantown, W.Va.- McDowell Nursing & Rehabilitation Center (N&RC) Director of Nursing Kristy Blankenship-Saunders received the West Virginia Health Care Association (WVHCA) Distinguished Director of Nursing Award at the association’s annual awards Banquet on May 9 at the Marriott Waterfront Place Hotel in Morgantown.

The award honors a Director of Nursing from a member facility who is nominated by his or her employees, peers, owner or facility official. The purpose of the award is to recognize a Director of Nursing for his or her outstanding efforts in their respective member facility.

Blankenship-Saunders has worked in long-term care for the past 15 years and has been a registered nurse for 21 years. She has worked in a variety of roles from the operating room to a regional director of clinical operations for many long-term care facilities.

When she transitioned to McDowell N&RC, she said it “feels like I’ve come home.”

Among the accomplishments Blankenship-Saunders has brought to the center is the reduction of employee turnover, thereby providing consistent and caring faces for the residents. Her expectations of the nursing department are to provide quality care and services to our residents and this is evident as the facility has been ranked in the top 10% in the nation for customer and employee satisfaction. The center earned a National Quality Bronze Achievement Award from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living.

She has a personal philosophy of “working hard, but enjoying all that life brings.” This attitude is best displayed by Blankenship-Saunders dancing in the hallways, or singing to a few residents in the resident lounge. This infectious attitude goes down through the ranks of her team, and spreads throughout the building. She never asks her employees to do something she is not willing to do herself. 

Additionally, Blankenship-Saunders received the 2014 AMFM President’s Choice Award for her dedication and commitment to the patients at McDowell N&RC.

“We are extremely proud of her and all of her accomplishments,” said Patty Lucas, Executive Director for McDowell N&RC. “We are blessed beyond belief, and our community is blessed to have her here.”

The WVHCA is a statewide nonprofit organization of long-term care facilities and assisted living communities, affiliated with the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL). 

For more information about McDowell N&RC, contact the Center at 304-448-2121.