Deborah Nugent has been with Mirador Retirement Community for 10 years, this year! She first joined the team as the Health Services Administrator in 2011. With her significant administrative knowledge and servant-hearted guidance, she has served Elders and the Coastal Bend community alike as Mirador’s Executive Director for the past 5 years. Get to know a little more about her with the below questions & answers!
So Deborah, how did you get your start in senior living?
Prior to senior living, I worked in the healthcare field for 13 years. My grandmother had a major stroke and was admitted to a nursing home. During my visits, I found out there was a position open as the Director of Marketing and Admissions. I worked there for 3 years and was promoted to Assistant Administrator when I earned my Nursing Facility Administrator license.
My motivation to become an administrator came from the experience with my now-deceased husband when we were navigating the healthcare system from intensive care through hospital-based skilled nursing. Those experiences and challenges led me to seek a license, so I could make a difference in the industry. My parents actually moved into Independent Living at Mirador a couple of years after I joined the team!
It sounds like this is really a “work of heart.” When did you discover this is your passion?
The first community that I served as an administrator was in a very rundown area. Through hard work, tenacity and time, our team improved the area and building, and brought a sense of pride to the residents and staff. I was hooked knowing that as a team we could tangibly and positively affect the lives of the Elders!
What are some of your favorite aspects of the Mirador team?
I really appreciate the team coming together to solve a problem or issue. Everyone comes to the table with their own solution, but once we all gather and discuss, we walk away with a better solution than any of us could have conceived alone. I also love throwing out an off-the-wall idea and one or more of the team members takes it and runs with it. Examples include the hugging station and visitation stations during the height of COVID restrictions, or using pool water to help residents with plumbing during the freeze (see pg. 10 of MRC Life).
Those are certainly inspiring stories of the staff at Mirador going above and beyond for atypical circumstances! What does a “typical day” of work look like for you?
My days are punctuated with Zoom calls and in-person meetings, but my favorite part of every day is interaction with Mirador Elders and Staff.
Mirador is a not-for-profit CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community). Can you describe how you juggle overseeing both The Plaza and Independent Living?
We have an incredible leadership team. Any success in oversight of Mirador is a huge team effort. I was initially hired as the Health Service Administrator in 2011 and served in that capacity until I was promoted to Executive Director in 2017. My time as administrator in The Plaza helps me with the overall oversight of the Mirador community. Establishing relationships with staff, residents, and family members over all these years has helped build a high level of trust with most. The biggest difference in The Plaza and Independent Living is the licensing and regulations requirements of The Plaza.
I have worked for 4 different for-profit corporations over the course of nearly 20 years in the senior living industry. The major difference I’ve observed is that funds are put back into the not-for-profit communities, such as MRC Mirador.
Tell me a little about your education and experience.
After high school I went to Del Mar College, then transferred to Texas A&M University in College Station. I worked several jobs to put myself through college. I received a bachelor’s degree in Parks and Recreation with a specialization in Administration. This degree gave me the basics of operations to work in fields such as national parks, local Municipal Parks & Recreation departments, or for cruise lines as a director. Coincidently, our beautiful community is much like being on a cruise ship!
In the healthcare industry, I’ve worked in a hospital, for a physician’s practice, for a rehabilitation company and in nursing homes. These last 10 years, I’ve had the joy of working for a Continuing Care Retirement Community: Mirador!
When not at Mirador, what do you enjoy?
I mostly enjoy casual time with family and friends, gathering over a good meal and visiting about our shared history and futures. I also enjoy yoga, beach walking, swimming and kayaking.