Current Business & Job Title: Registered Nurse: Staff Educator, Meadowbrook Healthcare
Hometown: Plattsburgh, New York
Age: 39
Education: A.A.S. in Nursing
Community Involvement: My community involvement is tied directly to my job — caring for our community geriatric population. We are able to get to know our residents and enjoy their company as much as they enjoy ours. It is a privilege to be a part of their lives.

As COVID-19 has put the spotlight on people in need and problems in society, it has also provided recognition for those who have committed their lives and careers to serving the most vulnerable. Erica Brooks found her calling in the nursing field later in life. She is now clearly on a path to help lead and guide the members of our nursing home community.

What are you doing to make a difference in your community?
I try to make a difference every day by having a positive attitude, whether it be providing education, feedback to employees or resident care.

What is the single most important characteristic for success?
Positivity. When a problem or concern occurs, staying positive not only allows you to handle the issue, it helps diffuse the situation.

What is your biggest professional success?
My biggest professional success has been transitioning from a manager position to staff educator. It has allowed me to grow as a registered nurse in terms of understanding long term care and applying that understanding to educate our facility’s employees.

What important lesson have you learned in your career?
Flexibility goes a long way in the ability to handle stressful situations with the ability to get the job done. It allows you to work well with a team and be an overall asset to a work environment.

What is your dream job?
My dream job would be to become a nurse practitioner.

How has COVID-19 impacted you professionally and personally? What are you doing differently?

I remember saying to my director of nursing mid-way through the pandemic, “I don’t remember what nursing was like pre-COVID-19” because almost every facet of our jobs has changed. In my personal life, I have a husband with Cystic Fibrosis, a progressive lung disease. I definitely had a level of fear that I would bring COVID-19 home to him and our daughter. My husband and I were fortunate enough to both get vaccinated and have not had COVID-19 to date.

What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
The biggest risk I have taken was returning to school as an adult learner. I had a family and I had to stop working which decreased my income by half. It was worth the risk because I am now in a job I love.

What is something that no one would guess about you?
I may seem to be outgoing, but I am really an introvert who likes to stay home with my family.

Write a note to your younger self…
Go to college out of high school. Do not wait. Take more risks
now. It will be worth it for your personal growth.

What can the North Country do to make this region more appealing to a younger generation?
If there were more job opportunities, it would make the region more appealing to students who come to SUNY Plattsburgh and encourage them to stay in the region after graduation.