Nicole Croteau, RN
Director of Nursing | Beaumont at Westborough
In her 20-year career at SALMON Health and Retirement, Nicole Croteau has taken on many roles – working as a CNA, as a nurse manager on a memory care neighborhood and currently as director of nurses at Beaumont at Westboro. She is an integral part of the SALMON community and its vision. Read below to learn about Nicole’s story:
What was your SALMON career path?
Nicole first started working at SALMON after her first year of college. She had previously worked as a bank teller, but realized it wasn’t exactly a strong suit of hers, so when she was home on summer break, she decided to take the the CNA course at Beaumont at Northbridge and became a CNA there.
“By the end of the summer, I found some perspective and decided to refocus my education on nursing,” she said.
After graduating from nursing school, she worked at Beaumont at Natick.
“It had just opened and there were 6 patients there when I started,” she said.
She worked there for about a year and a half. After leaving to pursue other opportunities in long-term care, Nicole ultimately decided to return to SALMON, where she believed in the company’s philosophy and approach to care.
“I was still only 25 and thought to myself that all long term care places were the same,” Nicole said. “I realized pretty quickly I was wrong.”
She decided to return to Beaumont at Northbridge, where she was the 3-11 supervisor until taking maternity leave a few months later. When she returned, she became a nurse manager in the Tapestry neighborhood, where she remained for 5 years, until transitioning into her current role as director of nursing at Beaumont at Westborough.
What made you want to work at SALMON?
“I knew there was a focus on quality and doing the right things for the people we take care of,” Nicole said. “I used to tell people, ‘this is the community we all live in and we need to care for each other. Some day we may be here too.’ I wanted the community to know that Beaumont was not a place where there was no living going on; it was a place where people lived while still remaining a part of our town.”
What is it like working at SALMON?
In her role as Director of Nursing, Nicole is responsible for managing resident care in the building – that includes leading the nursing staff and overseeing the design of care plans to deliver the best possible outcomes for each individual across the short-term rehabilitation, long-term care and memory care neighborhoods.
Nicole is passionate about providing quality care for seniors, which translates into how she manages her team.
“I want people to hold their nursing standards just as high here as in any other healthcare environment,” she says.
Leading by example, being fair and communicating expectations is how she views her leadership style.
Since rejoining Beaumont in August 2016, Nicole has overseen the revitalization of the community’s nurse mentor group. The peer leaders in the group mentor and educate other nurses and CNAs, helping to train staff and contribute to their advancement and leadership within the team. She credits this program with creating a healthy staff culture and improving retention – enabling Beaumont at Westborough to better serve its residents.
Nicole believes it’s important to truly know the people who live in Beaumont at Westborough in order to provide the best care and quality of life. That means understanding each person’s abilities and how those translate into every day interactions, like knowing how to provide comfort and support to someone who is exhibiting confusion. The simple act of knowing how someone takes their coffee can make all the difference.
“I’m particular about my coffee and appreciate when someone remembers how I take it,” she explains. “One woman who lives on the Tapestry Neighborhood responds beautifully to receiving coffee. I know she likes milk and just a little sugar and I make sure she gets it that way each day.”
What is your favorite part of working at SALMON?
“Working at SALMON, if I think there is a better or different way to do something, it is both possible and encouraged to work within my community to change things for the good of the people we care for,” Nicole said.
Nicole also appreciates working in an environment she can trust to even care for her own family. She has two young children who attended preschool at SALMON Center for Early Education, located on the Northbridge campus. Her grandmother also lived at Beaumont at Northbridge with one of her sisters for nearly 10 years.