Rushford Staff Member Sets “Gold” Standard

Monika Gunning, LCSW, finds her job as Clinical Director of Adult Services at Rushford rewarding for many reasons – the interaction with her staff and colleagues, the opportunities to learn and grow.

But most of all, it’s because of her connections to clients.

“Many of our clients have been coming to Rushford for years,” said Gunning, who has been at Rushford for eight years. “For them, it’s the closest thing they have to a family. I try to respect and honor that.”

Gunning’s dedication to clients, and Rushford’s mission of care, is why she has been selected as one of three managers across Hartford HealthCare to receive the Gold Medal Manager Award for outstanding managerial leadership. The award was created last year as a way to recognize managers who consistently exceed expectations and provide an outstanding example to staff and peers.

Monika Gunning, LCSW, director of Adult Services at Rushford.

Gunning is someone who certainly meets that criteria, said Steven Zuckerman, who supervises Gunning as Rushford’s Vice President of Clinical Operations.

“I think if you went to the dictionary to look up what a Gold Medal Manager should be, you would see a picture of Monika, followed by the words, ‘Embodies H3W Leadership Behaviors and leads by example in all aspects of her daily work,’” Zuckerman said.

“Hartford HealthCare has now recognized what we at Rushford have known for years,” he added.

Gunning said she was proud to receive the award, but emphasized that she is fortunate to work with an excellent staff that is every bit as dedicated to clients. She also expressed thanks to Zuckerman and leadership at Rushford and across the BHN for fostering an environment in which clients come first.

  • “Many of our clients have been coming to Rushford for years. For them, it’s the closest thing they have to a family. I try to respect and honor that.”

    - Monika Gunning

Gunning said she was initially drawn to the field of behavioral health as an undergraduate in college. After considering a career in teaching, she chose instead to help those suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues, and it’s a decision she is proud of, she said.

“I started doing volunteer work in the field while I was still in college, and I realized I was drawn to it,” she said.

As a manager, she said she still most enjoys her encounters and interactions with clients, following them as they progress through treatment.

“Sometimes they may be here for a very long time, and then you see they have that ‘ah-ha’ moment when something clicks and they begin to do better,” she said. “That’s the most rewarding thing to me.”