Nancy Bunday has been a certified nursing assistant for nearly 29 years at the Alden Terrace of McHenry Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.
She was born in Chicago, and grew up in Sioux City, Iowa. She works in the restorative program at Alden, helping residents with their therapy and exercises. Thirty-two residents are in the program.
Bunday recently was named a hero in long-term care by the Illinois Council on Long-Term Care. Her co-workers nominated her. She was one of about 120 nursing home administrators, volunteers, nursing assistants and activity directors to receive the award this year.
Bunday recently spoke with reporter Joseph Bustos.
Bustos: What did you think when you received the award?
Bunday: I was shocked. I had no idea it was coming. I had no idea who had nominated me, or why. I’m just doing my job, basically, all I’ve ever tried to do.
Bustos: How did you become a nursing assistant?
Bunday: I had a sister-in-law that worked here as a nurse’s aide, and I was looking for a job, and she recommended coming here. I’ve been here ever since.
Bustos: What did you think the job was like when you first started?
Bunday: I had a little bit of an idea, because I did work part time, when I had four of my kids, at a nursing home in Palatine. Nobody could pay to have a babysitter and work, too.
Bustos: What’s your favorite part about your job?
Bunday: The people. I’m close to a lot of them, and seeing their accomplishments.
Bustos: What kind of accomplishments do you see and of which are you most proud?
Bunday: Some [residents’] mobility wasn’t too good and by exercise and continued walking, they’ve been able to achieve a farther distance goal. It makes them feel better when they can accomplish a little more.
Bustos: Did you ever think about becoming a nurse?
Bunday: No. I like what I do. I like what I’m doing.
Bustos: What is the toughest part about your job?
Bunday: Getting someone motivated who can do something, but they feel they can’t and they argue and refuse. It’s trying to convince them they need to do this to maintain their abilities.
Bustos: How has your job changed in the 28 years?
Bunday: I pretty much do the same thing. It’s been different people. Responsibilities have been the same. There are different ways to transfer people. Different things to use. We have a hoyer lift. We used to have two people on either side, and put a draw sheet underneath. With the lifts they use now, you don’t have to exert your back as much.
Bustos: How often do you spend time with your grandchildren? What do you do with your grandchildren?
Bunday: At least once a week. They go swimming, they go camping, come and hang out at grandma’s.
The Bunday low down:
Town: Resident of Wonder Lake.
Family: Six grown children, and nine grandchildren.
Favorite meal: Fried chicken.
Favorite movie to watch with your grandchildren: “Avatar.”