Natalie McDonald "exemplifies the best of outstanding caregiving in every way," said Dianna Morrison, director of social services, who nominated her for the State Employee of the Month.
McDonald is a nursing assistant at the Missouri Veterans Home in St. James.
"Natalie is a natural in her relationships with our residents," Morrison said. "She uses her instincts and talent on how to best identify with a resident ... she gets to know them personally."
Recently, McDonald was concerned about a younger resident who was often unhappy with his health status and would become verbally demanding or abusive with those assisting him.
McDonald was willing to take a risk and try an unusual approach, which worked for his particular situation and need. Her supervisors added it to his care plan.
All of the other interventions and health care have benefits from McDonald's approach, which helped the veteran better adjust to his new home.
"She is willing to give a kind word, humor and a hug when needed," Morrison said. And she is "willing to go out on a limb because she feels it is the right thing to do for our veterans."
McDonald also is a strong leader and was one of the first certified nurse's assistants promoted to the lead worker position, when it was developed in October 2007.
In her eight years at the home, she has proven herself well-organized and has demonstrated good time management.
McDonald attends resident funerals on her own time and participates in veteran fundraisers.
"The work that certified nursing assistants do every day is intense and challenging," Morrison said. "Natalie goes above and beyond to ensure that the residents of this facility area cared for with the utmost dignity and respect."
The State Employee of the Month is selected by the State Employee of the Month Selection Committee from among nominations submitted by the 16 state departments and some elected offices. The six committee members also are members of the State Training Advisory Council.