LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — After Christina Harper lost her grandmother to a hip injury, she decided at the age of 35 to pursue a new career.
"I remember telling my parents I'm going to go back to school. I said, 'Guess what I want to be.' And they both said business majors," said Harper, of Yorba Linda.
That wasn't Harper's plan, though.
"I told myself that I was going to become a nurse. That way no one else's grandmother would suffer the pain that she suffered," Harper said, remembering her grandmother's struggles.
Choosing a new career is one thing. Getting hired is quite another. Harper made the big jump, though, when she was hired as a case manager at Silverado Hospice.
Silverado runs 10 "memory care" assisted living communities in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. It also offers hospice and home care.
Silverado currently is looking to hire 91 licensed vocational nurses, caregivers, and certified nurse assistants. And it is open to hiring new graduates.
"And if somebody has a passion for seniors, they don't necessarily have to have experience — we will teach them, we will train them," she says.
A licensed vocational nurse makes and average of $22.82 an hour. Of the 91 jobs, 75 percent of them are full-time positions that include benefits like medical, dental, vision, paid vacation, 401(k) and an educational reimbursement program.
"We've had many people go back and finish the registered nurse program and are now leaders with Silverado," said Nathan Levolt, a company recruiting official.
Silverado says it goes out of its way to make its residents to feel like they're really at home, so employees blend in with their own clothes. No scrubs or uniforms.
"Another benefit that I absolutely love is that we are encouraged to bring our children," Harper says. "And I love how much my children have learned from seniors."
Also, many other associates bring their pets to work, because dogs and cats can be very therapeutic for the residents.
Harper says all the special perks Silverado offers to both the residents and employees make her feel at home.
"I don't have to say, 'Ugh, I have to go back to work tomorrow.' I get to come to work," she says.
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