Zuzanna was born in Poland and moved to the United States in 1990. While in Poland she worked for seventeen years as a kindergarten teacher. She and her husband Julian, “happily married for forty years,” have a son Jacob, who is thirty seven, a daughter Natalia who is thirty, and two grandchildren, Matthew five and Sebastian two. When she arrived in America she did not know English. At the time her son Jacob was seven and he went to Catholic school in Indian Orchard. He would bring home papers to sign. To understand what she was signing Zuzanna had a dictionary from Poland and was able to translate the papers. That is how she started to learn English, as well as by watching tv. “I learned from my kids,” she explained.
Zuzanna received her CNA certification through a three month course with the American Red Cross. The Jewish Nursing Home was the first place to call her for an interview. She was hired by JNH on September 25th, 1995, and looks forward to celebrating her 25th work anniversary! She felt she would work here for a while, but the while turned into twenty five years. “JNH had a very good reputation. I believe it still does. I feel honored to work here.”
Zuzanna has always worked the night shift, and her husband, who is now retired, worked a maintenance job during the day. This alternating schedule allowed them to avoid the need for a babysitter and share the responsibility of caring for their children, helping with homework, and providing rides and oversight. “While I’m sleeping he was with the kids, doing homework. We knew they were under control. Even at seventeen they needed rides. It was a lot of work, He did his part.”
Zuzanna has always worked as a CNA in the A building of the nursing home. She indicated that she began upstairs, but after the 1998 renovations she moved downstairs. “I like a stable job,” she remarked. “I was seventeen years in Poland at one job and now twenty five hears here in one job. I don’t like to change jobs.”
“I like my residents and the nurses I work with, they are my friends. Mostly I like that I can be home during the day to care for the children. Now I help my daughter care for her two boys. That is why I stayed working the night shift all these years. My body is used to it,” she explained.
Reflecting on these past few months, “COVID-19 was a really difficult time. We lost a lot of residents. A lot of resident liked me and I liked them. It was really hard when they died. My years of experience helped me to get through an experience like this. I have tried to help younger CNAs and share my experience. I like working with the younger girls. My religion, I am Catholic, has helped me too. I do a lot of prayers.”
We thank Zuzanna for her strong work ethic and extraordinary commitment to the care of our residents over these past twenty five years. Her experience has been a source of stability and strength during this difficult time.