Woman journeys from Jamaican farm to pursue nursing dreams in Monroe


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MONROE – Donnett Richards has fond memories of her childhood growing up on her family’s farm in Jamaica.

“I milked the cows and swept out the chicken coop,” Richards, the health services director for The Chelsea at Forsgate in Monroe, said in a statement prepared by The Chelsea. “One day, I’d like to raise chickens again.”

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Richards is in charge of all the wellness programs and complying with all state regulations concerning care of assisted living and memory care residents. Working with older people is something that has always come naturally to her, according to the statement.

“My grandmother lived with us on the farm and I learned patience then,” she said. “When I worked as a bank teller in Jamaica, we had something called the Gold Key section which serviced older customers. They always called on me to help those customers because I had patience for them.”

Richards came to the United States in 2000 via a three-year stint in London where she earned a degree in management. It was unexpected inspiration that resulted in her career taking a right turn from banking to senior care, according to the statement.

“My mother had a friend who was a live-in caregiver for an older gentleman,” she said. “She couldn’t do it anymore and asked me if I’d be interested in being this man’s caregiver, so I said yes. I found it to be very rewarding, and decided that this was what I really wanted to do.”

She started as a home health aide at an assisted living community in West Windsor. During her 12 years there, she earned her LPN (licensed practical nurse) and then her RN (registered nurse)certification.

She joined Chelsea Senior Living in early 2016 as a nurse, then joined the company’s Health Services Director-In-Training program. She received her appointment as director of the Monroe community in September.


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