Being a nursing home administrator has long been a “dream job” for Abby Testa Steele ’16.

Now that job is hers.

Steele is administrator of Westmoreland Manor, a county-owned nursing home near Greensburg, Pa.

As administrator, she oversees the day-to-day operations of a wide range of departments, including nursing, rehabilitation, recreation, maintenance and business.

Steele was hired as Westmoreland Manor’s assistant administrator in 2019 and stepped in as interim administrator of the 408-bed facility in October 2020.

She’s been at the helm throughout the pandemic, working hard to ensure the well-being of residents and to keep their families informed.

“I have always known I wanted to work in a nursing home,” says Steele, who has a passion for working with – and advocating for – older adults.

It’s a passion rooted in her experiences as a Westmoreland Manor volunteer. She started out as a teenager, walking residents to church services on Sundays. As a college student, she served as a unit assistant.

“I just grew to love the older population because of everything they’ve been through,” she said.

That love inspired her to study gerontology at PennWest California. Thanks, in part, to a speaker series that brought professionals to campus to talk about their careers, she set her sights on becoming a nursing home administrator.

After graduation, she took on positions in human resources and billing at a local nursing home to gain firsthand experience with some of the jobs she’d eventually be overseeing.

“I felt like I should know what each department does on a daily basis,” she said.

Then, she began the lengthy process of becoming a licensed administrator, accumulating 1,000 administrator-in-training hours at Westmoreland Manor and passing three certification exams.

It was all worth it, she says.

“I love where I’m at right now.”