Archive for Wednesday, February 9, 2000

Fitting in makes it easier

New nursing home administrator says he feels at home

February 9, 2000

The first day he was on the job, Mike Truman felt like one of the gang. Now, he feels like part of the family.

Truman, the new administrator at the Tonganoxie Nursing Center, stepped into his position on Nov. 17.

"The day I got here, I felt like I belonged here," Truman said. "I was still getting to know people down in Wichita. It took less than a day for me to feel at home here."

Truman has only been in the nursing home field for a year and a half. But, he has worked in health administration for 14 years. He worked at Christ Villa Nursing Center in Wichita before taking his position in Tonganoxie. He worked for Charter Hospitals for more than 10 years before making the change to nursing centers.

"This is where the future of health care is," Truman said.

That is why he switched his field of expertise.

"It is a growing field," he said. "It is definitely not what it used to be."

While working for Charter, he felt that in many ways it was not rewarding enough. He said that people in nursing homes have such a rich history to share.

Truman, who grew up in the Kansas City area, said he felt it was time to come back to this area. He asked Beverly Healthcare Facilities to find a nursing center in the Kansas City area where he could work. Beverly is the parent company of the Wichita center where he was employed. About three months ago, he was told about an opportunity in Tonganoxie.

"I met the management team and was impressed," Truman said. "I thought 'this is it.' I knew this was the opportunity I was looking for."

Currently, Truman is living with a friend in Bonner Springs until he finds a place to live. His wife, a son and a daughter are still living in Wichita. So he's traveling many miles on the Kansas Turnpike between Bonner Springs and Wichita.

Truman replaced Tom Klug, who worked as administrator for two years.

Truman speaks highly of the center, which is home to 78 residents, its capacity.

"Number one, I want to ensure that we continue to deliver the finest quality of care," Truman said.

One of his goals is to improve the landscaping and exterior of the center.

"I want to try to enhance the homelike environment," he said.

Truman also wants to convert the nursing home into more of a campus. He talked about possibly building an assisted living complex someday. He said he wants the nursing center to grow as the needs of the community grow.

The in-house services are some of the best he has seen while working in the health care administration field. Fifty-six people work at the center.

"I think there is a genuine pride-of-ownership for the people who work here," Truman said. "There is a genuine commitment. It is not really a job for them but a way of life."

Most of the employees and residents are from the community, which also helps to create a family-like atmosphere.

His wife is a Mary Kay consultant in Wichita and a licensed social worker. She and his children will move to northeastern Kansas after the school year ends.

"The number one thing I like to do is spend time with my family," Truman said.

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