Nursing home director takes on local challenge

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 1, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Not too many years ago while Rhoades Kreutter (pronounced CRY-ter) II was doing research in college, he realized his calling – nursing homes. Today, the 29-year-old Rochester, N.Y. native is fulfilling that goal as executive director of the Nansemond Pointe Rehabilitation Health Care Center (190 beds combined).

&uot;I decided to pursue it because it’s a great challenge and there are great job opportunities – the growth of baby boomers and an increased need for workers in the health care field,&uot; Kreutter said.

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He earned a degree in financial services from State University of New York – Alfred, and a degree in health service management from SUNY of Utica and Rome. Kreutter’s first job was in administrator training for American Health Care’s Heritage Hall in Blacksburg.

&uot;I worked in each department

– dietary, housekeeping, nursing, training, maintenance, etc.

But after that, he was on his own at Heritage Hall in Brookneal: &uot;Oh, well, I was nervous…very nervous not knowing what to expect. It’s always easier going through training,&uot; Kreutter acknowledged.

Obviously, he did more than survive that experience, and later chose to go to a larger facility (132 beds), Sunbridge in Dublin. But the company went bankrupt and sold the place, so he moved on to Tandem in Floyd, then later to the Avante Co. in Waynesboro, where his own family lives.

Kreutter came to Nansemond Pointe via the Internet (&uot; or something like that,&uot; he said.).

&uot;I had been trying to get to the area,&uot; he said, explaining that the parents had retired to Asheville, N.C., and that he has a brother in the Navy and a younger sister in Virginia Beach. Kreutter’s staying with she and her own Navy family until he and his wife, Christina, find a house of their own. They’re looking for a place in northern Suffolk, he added. Other family members include a stepdaughter, Robyn, a 3-year-old daughter, Katelynn, and his 6-month-old son, Rhoades Kreutter III.

Regardless of his age and experiences, working in any nursing home has its challenges.

&uot;There are staffing issues wherever you go,&uot; he said, but without elaborating on any specifics.

He answers critics of such facilities in general: &uot;I think nursing homes have changed in the past several years, and believe most people want to make their loved ones as comfortable for the end of their lives as well as rehabilitative services.&uot;

But what keeps anybody working in a place where death is a frequent visitor?

Kreutter said simply, &uot;It just takes a unique person to work in the industry.&uot;