“I think everyone at Masco should be Employee of the Year.” – 2020 recipient Heather Morin, on receiving the news. 

A registered nurse and Clinical Liaison for Masconomet Healthcare Center, Heather Morin originally hails from Danvers, Massachusetts. She graduated from Regis University and worked as a biomedical engineer at Genetics Institute for five years, earning a Master’s degree in biochemistry. But that wasn’t the career for Heather, and soon she returned to Regis to obtain her nursing degree. 

Since then, Heather has been an Admissions/Liaison Nurse as well as having been Staff Development/Infection Control, Case Manager, Sub-Acute Nurse Manager, and more with Whittier Health Network for over 19 years. She gravitated to the geriatric population from the start, loving the people that she works with. Now Heather strives to earn her Master’s degree in Nursing and become a family practitioner within the Whittier Health Network. Outside of Masconomet, Heather also works at another Massachusetts hospital on the weekends, where she does a great deal of clinical teaching.

“Everybody here deserves this award [at Masco]”

Masco is a “super-special building,” in Heather’s words, located in Topsfield, on Massachusetts’s North Shore. Previously an apple farm, the name “Masconomet” refers to the sagamore of the Agawam tribe of the Algonquian Native Americans when the first Puritan colonists arrived in Ipswich in 1633. For Heather, the community must understand all the things that “Masco” does, what the building has to offer, and especially how Masco stands out in its attitude towards its folks. “When patients come to us, they might need the use of a walker,” Heather explains. “We try to aide patients, so instead of a walker, let’s reach for the stars, and what about trying a cane?”

Masco also stands out in its commitment to health and community; as of February 2021, 97% of Masco staff have been fully vaccinated from COVID-19. Masco has also taken the initiative to become exceptionally well-versed in infection control policies and procedures. “We want people to be aware that if someone comes to Masco, whether it be a family member, Whittier employee, or vendor, we have the process and the equipment to keep everyone safe,” Heather says. “We want to be forward-thinking as the world starts to open up again and stand out from the other skilled nursing facilities [in the area].” 

And that determination doesn’t just apply to Masconomet, but all of the other Whittier skilled nursing facilities as well. For example, Port Healthcare Center in Newburyport was having difficulty coping with COVID-19 in 2020, so Heather took the initiative and traveled there to assist. “That’s what makes this a unique network, to have the opportunity to do that,” she explains. “It’s not just Masco, one free-standing building. We’re a part of the Whittier family and the community.”

Providing education and information to the community has always been a part of Masco’s mission; before COVID-19, they put on regular health and blood pressure clinics. During the holidays, they reached out to the local COA and senior centers in Topsfield and Boxford to assemble Thanksgiving baskets. On Christmas, they bought gifts for less-fortunate children and families in the communities. As a Girl Scout leader, Heather also got involved with singing Christmas carols and making decorations with other scout groups in town! 

“Everybody here deserves this award,” Heather said when she received the Employee of the Year award. “It’s not me. I appreciate everybody’s input and recognition. We were all the Employees of the Year last year, staying late and caring for the patients extra. It’s nice to be nominated, but I kind of throw it back!”

Whittier Health Network’s Employee of the Year Program

Whittier Health Network’s Employee of the Year and Month programs were initiated four years ago to recognize individuals who demonstrate outstanding performance in their position. Volunteer committees comprised of 10-15 employees discuss the activities and events and identify individuals who have gone above and beyond their job description. From that pool of nominations, the committee decides who gets selected as Employee of the Month. Annually, the twelve chosen people are put in the running for Employee of the Year, determined by another committee vote. The awards have become a real morale booster across the network. The committee encourages employees’ input, whether they may want to nominate someone or be involved in next month’s award event. 

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