MIDDLETOWN – Jimmie King is indeed the administrator at the Care One at King James Care Center, but it’s difficult to find him in his office. This administrator might be out delivering a medication to a recent resident, or helping staff decorate for the holidays. Or helping residents create paw print paintings with visiting dogs for unique framed hangings. For this affable, hardworking and very business professional, it’s all about the teamwork and getting the job done.
Jimmie King, with all his degrees, is Jimmie King, MSN, RN, MNHA, as well as husband, dad to four children and granddad to two. He is a native of Leonardo, which is still his home, and he graduated from all the local schools…Bayshore Middle School, Middletown South, Monmouth Vocational where he earned his LPN, Brookdale College, where he earned his degree in nursing and Kean University where he earned his degree in business and management.
“I’m a local guy,” he says with a grin and obvious pride.
He also hasn’t gone very far from home in his professional medical career. He started out as a certified nursing assistant when Helen Marchetti, later the Mayor of Atlantic Highlands, was the director of Atlantic Highlands Nursing Home and he learned from the beginning at that facility that meeting each resident’s needs, big or small, had to be a priority of his work. After the nursing home closed, he came to Care One, then under the original owners, with Duke Black the administrator and he has been there ever since.
His first position with King James was as a Licensed Practical Nurse 20 years ago, and from there he earned his nursing degree and was a registered nurse in the same facility. It was October, 2020, that he was named Director of Nursing, and then, ten months later, he became the overall administrator of the facility.
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King looks at himself more as the captain of a team rather than the formal title of administrator. That is because he is a firm believer it is only with a talented team, a team that works well together and has the same ideas of perfection as he does that he can be the success he is as an administrator.
“We have a great team here, and that is important to me, particularly because it is what is needed in order to provide the level of nursing care that the care center is known for,” King said. “Customer service is our overall obligation and that makes it our first priority.”
King said because of the training, background, education and enthusiasm of everyone on his team, the facility is able to reach out and go beyond their obligations. “Our team here not only helps our residents,” he explained, “but also reaches out to participate in community assistance as well.” As an example, currently employees and residents, as well as families of residents, are participating in a fund-raiser for the niece of an employee stricken with diabetes. “This is what our family does all the time,” he said matter-of-factly, but with an obvious pride in his voice.
King believes a well-staffed and enthusiastic kitchen staff is also necessary to keep up both health and morale for all residents. “We have a sound dietary program, and our chef can meet every resident’s dietary restrictions and requirements with ingenuity and attention. That is not only in the preparation of the proper foods in the proper manner, but also adding those little extra touches that make a dinner dish more appealing, and therefore more apt to be enjoyed by the resident. It’s a vital part of a good dietary program.”
The activities department has done everything from “running up and down the halls to provide entertaining Bingo games during the Covid restriction that limited their meeting together,’’ he laughed, “to preparing and helping with the first wedding we’ve ever had at King James.” That happened when the daughter of a resident wanted to be sure her mom could attend the ceremony. “A good time was had by all and it was a beautiful wedding,” King said.
The care center also participates in a number of veterans programs to honor their residents who served in the military. As far as the paw print program, that was on a day when several of the employees brought their canines to work for a full day, having them visit the residents in their rooms, then having the residents assist the dogs in putting their paw prints on artist canvas to be displayed in their own rooms or given as gifts. “Animals always are a treat for so many residents, and we have dogs that visit on a regular basis and delight the residents,” the administrator said.
“Striving for excellence is our goal and we do that every day,” he said, “we want to treat our residents as if they were in a five star hotel. Here at King James, we’re family, and we treat the resident, not the computer.”
Since he was named administrator earlier this year, does King have any other ambitions within the Care One nursing home complex? “Upper administration knows I live close and can be here in any emergency, night or day, within minutes,” he said, “they like the fact that if any emergency ever occurred, I’m only five or six minutes away.”
Then he grinned and added, “I told you I’m a local guy. I’ve been here 20 years. I don’t plan on going anywhere.”
Muriel J. Smith is an ombudsman at Care One at King James