“It’s a calling. Now that I’ve been doing this for many years, I see myself here forever.”
Nursing is more than a job for Estiv “Steve” Benitez, Health and Wellness Director for Brookdale Emerson in New Jersey.
“Nursing is a privilege,” Steve said. “My whole life I wanted to be in healthcare. I’m a people person and a nurse through and through.”
The variety of the work and the interpersonal people connection is what appeals to him most. “Every day is a new challenge. I’ve done plenty of jobs in my life, but nursing is handling not just people, but their well-being. Whether someone is a soldier, homemaker or female trailblazer in their industry, every person has their own story and track in life. I remember tending to a resident who was the first female to work for IBM. Everybody has a different story and that’s what keeps it interesting and different every day. I enjoy listening to resident’s experiences in the individual lives.”
Steve was drawn to senior care shortly after college. He began working for Brookdale through legacy company, Emeritus, an assistant nursing position became available. After nearly six years with the same community, he moved to a regional role as an RN Case Manager, which assisted clinical directors and communities that required additional help. He assisted with PCC launch in multiple communities, helping Health and Wellness Directors.
“I loved the residents and environment. I never thought I would work in geriatric, but the residents make it fun and interesting.”
His grandfather was a centenarian and that also played a role in his career decision. “I’m very close-knit with all my family, especially my dad’s folks. My grandfather lived to 101 and had all faculties until 98. We grew up with them.”
Steve is the first registered nurse in his family and loves listening to residents, especially veterans. “I have a soft spot for veterans, particularly from WWII. They were the greatest generation in our history. The world was a different place back then. That generation had the work ethic, respect, and the concept of ‘you get back in life what you put into it’. Nothing was given to them—they’re an amazing group of people”.
His example of learning from and listening to residents shows that nursing appreciation is a meaningful exchange that goes both ways.