The Face of Cassia

Pictures of Monica, a RN at Cornerstone Assisted Living and an Air Force veteran.

Air Force to Nursing: Monica’s Journey

Every experience in our life shapes us. It influences the person we become and the path we follow. Monica, who works as a RN at Cornerstone Assisted Living, knows this to be true.

Monica is an Air Force veteran. Her unique journey in the military has made her a special and dedicated nurse. She uses her experiences to enrich the lives of the residents she helps every day.

Monica serves as a true inspiration to all who have the privilege of knowing her at Cornerstone Assisted Living. Her coworkers frequently praise her as a shining example of positivity and unwavering commitment. They say she’s an exceptional employee, who spreads enthusiasm in every interaction with staff and residents alike. Her readiness to go above and beyond never fails to bring warmth and cheer to those in her presence.

“Monica is very knowledgeable as an RN,” says her supervisor, Toni. “She strives for excellence making sure the residents have what they need to be successful. She is a huge resource to bounce ideas off of to make sure the plan or idea will be successful. She is a true leader.”

Monica’s Call to Service

Monica embarked her remarkable journey by joining the Air Force at the age of 19. Driven by a desire to find her purpose, she left her Minnesota comfort zone in search of her life’s direction.

“Joining the military was one of the scariest decisions I have ever made,” Monica admits. “It pushed me outside my comfort zone and made me really consider my life and goals.”

During her time in the Air Force, Monica worked in a shop off the flight line. She performed maintenance on targeting and navigational pods on F15s.

Monica served for four years, an experience that profoundly influenced her values and perspective on life. She says it taught her to cherish and value relationships. It also revealed how one choice can have a profound impact on the future.

Life Lessons Carried Forward

Monica emphasizes how her military service helped shape her work ethic. She says it instilled a strong sense of integrity that she carries with her in her life and career.

“I was always a hard worker, but the military really helped fine tune my pride in my work,” Monica says.

Other valuable lessons Monica carries from her service into her nursing career include:

  • You are only as strong as your weakest member.

This has been the basis of creating my professional identity. In any role that I am in throughout my career, I am working to empower and help those that need help. It also means that I have to be honest with myself and realize that I may be the one who needs help sometimes,” Monica says.

  • Anything worth doing is worth doing well.

In the military, you want to make sure that you are doing everything thoroughly and correctly. Not doing this could end up with people injured or dying. This rings true in nursing and healthcare as well,” Monica says.

  • Cherish friends and family.

“I was gone for four years and, in that time, I had a huge loss in my family. This person supported me in so much of my life and was truly my best friend in life. I felt guilty that I couldn’t be there with her when she passed,” Monica says.

“I think that it is an aspect of loss that not everyone thinks about in regards to service members. They sacrifice their time with loved ones at home and miss out on good and bad times. They all are lessons in enjoying the time you have with loved ones, family, friends and your team.

“I think all the teams I have worked with would attest to the fact that I got stuff done, but also enjoyed my time with them as best as we could. That balance is important to me as a nurse, especially working with the geriatric population.”

Dedication in Every Role

Monica has held various roles at Cassia communities throughout her career at Park View, Haven Homes, Harmony Gardens and Cornerstone Assisted Living.

She began as a nursing assistant before getting her nursing license and working as a RN. Monica has had leadership roles at these communities, too. Monica worked as the nurse manager/staff development/infection preventionist at Haven Homes and at Park View. She also worked as the director of nursing at Harmony Gardens.

Her supervisor, Toni, says she has worked with Monica at two separate Cassia locations. During the pandemic, they worked together at Park View while Toni was the director of nursing.

“I could not have made it through without her,” Toni says. “She was my rock working all hours, weekends and holidays. She stayed on top of the policies and implementing what needed to be done to keep staff and residents safe. She was a pillar of knowledge that I leaned on more often than not.”

Toni hired Monica without hesitation when she applied to work at Cornerstone Assisted Living.

“She shows compassion, leadership and friendship,” Toni says. “She is a person you always want in your corner because she will fight for what is right and true. She advocates for the residents so they have better.”

Excellence in Service and Compassion

Monica’s story inspires us to be compassionate and make a positive impact. It shows that our actions can shape our character and the lives of others.

Her commitment to excellence, integrity and a strong work ethic continues to shine brightly at Cornerstone Assisted Living.

Thank you, Monica, for being a guiding light, a symbol of service and an embodiment of Cassia’s values. Your commitment and strong determination show us how one person can make a great impact. We are grateful for the inspiration you provide to us all.