Original Article – https://www.reviewatlas.com/news/20190216/job-runge-22-landed-his-dream-job-at-roseville-rehabilitation-and-health-care

Job Runge

ROSEVILLE — Job Runge feels pretty lucky. A 2015 graduate of United High School, he graduated from Eastern Illinois University in December 2018 with a degree in health care administration.

Just three weeks later he was hired as administrator at Roseville Rehabilitation and Health Care, a job he has been preparing for since he was 13.

Of course when he was young he wanted to be a PE teacher like both of his parents. He even dreamed of playing in the NBA, but his freshman year in high school gave him a little more focus.

That year his grandfather became very ill. Runge and his family helped take care of him.

“That experience sparked something inside me,” he said. “I knew then that I wanted to do something in health care. Maybe a CNA or a nurse.”

During his freshman year of high school he had a chance to career shadow a nurse and realized, “I could not handle the blood, the needles and all that, so I looked for a different direction.”

Sophomore year he spent a day shadowing Scott Widener, who was a nursing home administrator.

“That day was another spark for me,” Runge said. “I really thought this looked like something I wanted to do the rest of my life.”

His next step was college. Eastern Illinois University had the major he was looking for: health care administration.

“EIU had that small town atmosphere like Monmouth,” Runge said. “I visited my junior year of high school, sat in on some classes and fell in love with it. It felt like home to me. I applied and was accepted before the beginning of my senior year.”

It takes most people four or five years to get through college, but Runge was focused. He took dual credit classes in high school that transferred and a couple of summer classes and graduated from EIU in 3½ years.

“Those dual credit classes really helped me in college,” he said. “I learned to organize my time in high school with sports, a full high school day and dual credit classes on my own time. It paid off because it helped me graduate a semester early.”

During his senior year at EIU, Runge did an internship with Widener in the Petersen Health Care system. Widener taught him a lot of things, but probably the most important was a life attitude.

“He taught me that no matter what happens throughout your day, be the biggest person you can be and always do the right thing.”

Widener also told him to call when he graduated, and the Petersen Company would do their best to find a job for him.

“When I called, the perfect job for me was available. The position of head administrator was open at the nursing home in Roseville,” he said.

Runge is young to be taking on that role, but the company knew him and decided to give him a chance. He began working there in his new role three weeks after he graduated from EIU.

He said the best part of being an administrator is that, “I can be an advocate for the residents. I can do whatever I can to help people succeed in their lives.”

Runge tries to get out on the floor multiple times during the day. He said, “The residents really seem to appreciate it when I get down on their level and let them talk. The heart of my job is when I can make a resident or one of the staff smile. I also want the staff to see that I am out and about and very approachable if something is going on.”

Runge is younger than most of the staff.

“I have a lot to learn,” he said. “My goal is to master this place one day at a time. I try to learn something new every day. This week I learned how to use their Excel program. And I learned a couple of new OSHA policies (There is a whole binder of them!)”

Maybe more importantly “I learned that one of my residents’ favorite soda is Diet Pepsi. I want to try and find out what my staff and my residents like. Bonuses can be more personal that way.”

Runge’s immediate professional goal is to take the nursing home administrator’s licensing test.

In 20 years he said, “I may be right here. It feels like home. Staffing is amazing and personable. They understand that I am new here, and they do everything they can to help me.”