Mercer Nursing & Rehabilitation Center executive director named administrator of the year by statewide association
A passionate drive to serve others inspired Pamela "LeeAnn" Fink to pursue a career in long-term care more than 15 years ago. Now, with the same dedication, Fink has been named the 2022 Administrator of the Year by the West Virginia Health Care Association (WVHCA) while serving as the Executive Director of Mercer Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, in Bluefield, WV.
The award was presented to Fink at the annual WVHCA Awards Banquet hosted at the Marriott Hotel in Morgantown, WV. The convention and awards banquet recognizes the best in skilled nursing and assisted living centers in WV.
Fink said she was "shocked" to receive the award, but for her staff and others who know her, the recognition was well-deserved. Both in and outside of her job, Fink is known for her commitment to leadership and compassionate care for her community.
"I love long-term care," Fink said. "For many, we are their family. We are their home. We are the people and location that will care for them until they pass. My thought has always been, ‘if we are going to be their family, then we will be the best family they have ever had.’"
Fink was inspired to work in healthcare at a young age when her uncle was a resident at a nursing facility. She explored this passion while studying at West Virginia University. During this time, Fink worked part-time as an activities assistant and volunteered at a local children’s hospital.
She started her career in long-term care while working for a company developing a customer service program in Virginia. In 2007, she became a licensed administrator, and since then, she has worked in assisted living, skilled nursing, and as a surveyor.
“I wanted to be a part of the change that would make an impact on the lives of residents,” Fink said. “I had the chance to work with numerous members of the Greatest Generation, and I wanted to give back to the people who had given so much of themselves to their community and country. They were there for us, and it was time for us to be there for them.”
Fink also lives her passion for service outside of the facility. She is actively involved in local church groups, schools and various civic organizations and dedicates time and resources to several causes, including homelessness. In October, Fink will become president of the local Kiwanis Club.
Last year, Fink brought her passion for community service into the facility by implementing a program entitled “Hearts and Hands: With the Community We Stand,” in which the staff chooses and carries out one community service project per month. Projects range from collecting school supplies for children or gathering pet food for the local animal shelter to creating Easter baskets for a special needs elementary classroom.
The community service program is just one of the many ways Fink has inspired her staff to be compassionate and caring toward others. Fink was nominated for the award by one of her staff members for several reasons, including her breadth of knowledge, positive attitude, engaging leadership and her kindness toward others.
“She truly feels, cares and is invested in the lives of the residents,” said Donna Logan, Director of Nursing at Mercer NRC. “She will cry with a resident when they want to tell her a sad story of their life. She will hold their hand and just listen to them when they want to talk about anything from their children to their craft for the day. She never makes them feel that she is too busy to take time to listen to them but more importantly, she never makes them feel that she is too busy to care about them.”
Fink said she prefers to work "behind the scenes" at Mercer NRC, but she is humbled by the special recognition, especially from her staff.
“Mercer NRC is special because there are people here who want to make a difference,” Fink said. “There are people who do what they think are small things that no one notices, just to better the lives of others. I want to be at Mercer to foster a sense of family and caring.”