BY JANICE GIBBS | TEMPLE DAILY TELEGRAM 

Roger von Seeburg, director of nursing at Temple’s William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home, and Kemberli Gordy, assistant director of nursing at the Veterans Home, were both honored by the Texas Health Care Association recently.

Von Seeburg was recognized with the Director of Nursing award and Gordy was named 2016 Nurse of the Year for Region 5, which includes Central Texas.

“Roger von Seeburg is an innovative leader whose dedication to improving long-term care has already reached well beyond his facility,” said Kevin Warren, president and CEO of the non-profit Texas Health Care Association. “We are proud to recognize his example with this award.”

Thanks to von Seeburg’s efforts over the past four years, the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home has a five-star overall rating with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Von Seeburg was brought on board to lead the turnaround effort.

“Needing a strong performer, I hired Roger without hesitation to develop and implement robust clinical checks and balances, nurture and develop staff, and most importantly, to elevate and maintain a level of care well above state and federal expectations,” said Shannon Sondgeroth, administrator at the William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home.

Von Seeburg encourages his staff to further their education and is responsible for the home’s lower than average use of antipsychotic medications and re-hospitalizations. The innovative fall-reduction program he began at the home reduced falls by 75 percent and has been adopted by all Touchstone Communities.

Gordy is known as an excellent teacher, having nurtured and guided three of her charge nurses toward earning an RN program. Because of her clinical skills and teaching personality, the state veterans home was able to start doing in-house IV therapy, wound vacs and other procedures, and has become a teaching facility for CNAs, medication aides and nurses.

“Kemberli Gordy is compassionate and dedicated to those who depend upon her,” Warren said. “Families trust Gordy because they know she places the needs of the veterans in her care above her own.”

Gordy was nominated by Sondgeroth, with recommendations from nursing facility residents, family members, peers and supervisors. She was selected by a panel of long-term care clinicians from across the state.

“Kemberli has been a role model for her peers and staff,” von Seeburg said. “She is never too busy to stop and help a CAN with a resident, jump in and assist in the dining room, or sit and talk with a resident who wants her attention.”