News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Health & Fitness

May 7, 2014

Nursing home administrator touches many lives

TERRE HAUTE — If you are involved in the senior health care field in Terre Haute, you probably know Kathy Rickard. When it comes to providing nursing care to Terre Haute seniors, she has had a direct impact on thousands.

She went into nursing when she was 19 and over the last 46 years she has served Terre Haute residents at St. Anthony Hospital, Vigo County Nursing Home and other nursing homes, local physician offices and Springhill Village, a senior health care facility in Terre Haute, where she recently retired as executive director.  

She has trained hundreds of men and women seeking to become certified nursing assistants. Both of her adult children are also in the senior nursing care field, providing another generation of Rickard family members serving the area.

On April 30, Rickard started a new chapter in her life when she retired from Springhill Village.

Rickard has spent all but four years of her life in Terre Haute. After graduating from high school, she attended the Adult Education Learning Center in Terre Haute, where she received nursing training. She became a licensed practical nurse at age 19 and went to work at St. Anthony Hospital. Nursing was not a profession she had planned to enter, she said.

“I really didn’t have my sights set on anything except for being a wife and mom and living in a house with a white picket fence,” she said recalling the aspirations of many Baby Boomer women.

She went to work for Vigo County Nursing Home in the early 1970s and fell in love with taking care of seniors. Then she returned to school at the Indiana Vocational and Technical College for administrator training.  

She became an assistant administrator and later an administrator at the senior health facility that was later acquired by American Senior Communities, which operates Springhill Village.

Never one to have only one avenue of interests in senior health care, she started a guardianship company which represented seniors from throughout Vigo and surrounding counties. Her daughter, Michelle, who is an occupational therapist assistant at Springhill Village, worked with her there. Her son, Kevin, is executive director of Clinton Gardens, another community operated by American Senior Communities.

“They both always said they would not work in a nursing home, so I laugh now because they both do,” Rickard said.

She started Advanced Healthcare, a nursing assistant training company, and will continue to spend time in that business after retiring from Springhill.

Her greatest joy in the senior health care field has been working with the residents and their families. As she walks through hallways at Springhill Village, she greets residents by name and she is a familiar face to them, too. Many want a hug from her.

She also loves building teams and has close relationships with her team members at Springhill Village. She regularly eats lunch with staff. One of her close team members, Bryanna Wegner, is now an administrator in training. Bryanna’s sister, Brandie Snapp, helps Rickard run her nursing assistant training business.

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