Most children only get a sense of their parents’ work life once per year on Take Your Child to Work Day. But for Nadia Nelson, it was a daily occurrence. Her mom worked as a live-in supervisor at ACR Homes, where Nelson grew up, sharing daily life with her mom as well as the residents that she considered part of her family.
“It worked out pretty great for my mom, since the residents were able to entertain me, and I them,” Nelson remembers. “I especially remember watching cartoons with them, arm wrestling with them and going to Christmas parties. … It was a great place to grow up.”
Those experiences would be the spark of a lifelong interest in healthcare that’s led her to her current roles: University of Minnesota pre-med student and shift supervisor with Arthur’s Senior Care, sister company of ACR Homes. Her long-term goal? To become an OB/GYN and possibly work with people with disabilities.
Following in the founders’ footsteps
Not surprisingly, another impetus in Nelson’s career path has been her heritage; over the course of her 19 years she’s watched her grandparents, company founders Jim and Dorothy Nelson, pour their hearts into creating better living conditions for those with disabilities. She’s also seen the effects of less-than-ideal living conditions elsewhere, which is why she’s motivated to keep fighting for the rights of the disabled.
“Some people haven’t gotten the respect they deserve (at other facilities),” she notes. “And knowing I can do something about it is driving my passion for providing good medical care.”
While Nelson hasn’t lived in an ACR group home since age 4, she did gain additional behind-the-scenes experience when her mom ran an assisted living in rural Wisconsin for several years. And when it came time to choose a college, a return to the metro area and a part-time job with ACR was a natural for the company legacy. She came aboard as a care attendant at Arthur’s in 2018, became an intern along the way and was promoted to shift supervisor last summer.
“One of the greatest rewards has been my ability to gain career-relevant experience, so I won’t be going to med school blindly,” she emphasizes. “I know what I like about this kind of industry, and it’s cemented what I want to do.”
School-work balance is both rewarding and demanding
These days, her 80-hour-per-month job involves monitoring, recording and reporting patient metrics while continually interacting with other key medical professionals. “It’s more holistic than a lot of other medical jobs,” she says. “The hardest part is balancing student life with earning a living, but somehow that makes me better with time management. My boss is super understanding when I can’t get here until 2 because I have a lab, and during finals week we work together to make sure all the shifts get covered.”
To help her juggle everything, she was originally enrolled in the company’s Employee Transportation Program that provided use of company-owned vehicles for commutes to and from campus.
Her favorite part of her job? Feeling like a meaningful part of her residents’ lives.
“Providing all that physical and emotional support can be challenging, especially when a client passes,” she explains. “But the best part is knowing their families are comfortable with you when they’re at a really vulnerable point.”
A bright and caring medical future
When her medical training is complete, Nelson says she may ask to serve as a physician in the business that has successively employed her mom, dad, aunt, uncle and sister. She points out that both grandparents remain very active in ACR; in fact, her grandpa may someday write her letter of recommendation for medical school — a service he offers many promising interns.
“It’s very much a family business, and we hear interesting stories when we all get together,” she says. “Obviously the company is very near and dear to my heart.”
Interested in learning more about Arthur’s? Contact us online or call us at 651-294-4798 to learn more about how we can help provide specialized care for your loved one.