Rachel Burianek was on a much different career path when she realized that nursing was her calling. Although she enjoyed using her art degree from the University of Southern Indiana for her job in a boutique frame shop, she often found herself thinking about the time she spent in college working as a dietary aide at Aspen Trace.
“The interactions with residents always made me feel fulfilled,” Rachel said. “Seeing them smile and laugh made me feel like I was making a real difference in their lives every day.”
Rachel went on to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and join the Aspen Trace family in 2018. Now she enjoys even more of the warm, tender moments that sparked her interest in senior living back in college.
“There are moments when you’re working with residents in which they will look up at you and say they don’t know what they would do without you in their lives,” she said. “Moments like that touch my heart and make this job even more worthwhile.”
Rachel recently received national recognition for her work. She was this year’s recipient of the Assisted Living Caregiver of the Year Award from the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA). Rachel was one of 23 CNAs and other long-term care professionals recognized during the 25th Annual “Key to Quality” Awards Banquet in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Rachel was “shocked speechless” when she first heard the news. As she walked into a meeting with management members across the whole community, she had no clue what they were going to announce. Before she knew it, the room erupted in applause.
“Everyone was cheering and clapping, and I couldn’t stop smiling,” she said.
At the ceremony, Rachel found herself similarly overwhelmed. A tidal wave of emotion washed over her as she listened to what co-workers and residents thought of her work.
As CarDon’s Chief Operating Officer Gregg Gormal said: “Rachel is a leader on the floor and an example for the other aides to follow. She is known around the assisted living community for her positivity, thoroughness, patience with care, and empathy for the residents. Rachel has proven over and over again that she is not only one of the best CNAs in Indiana, but in the country.”