CAREERS IN NURSING
PERFORMANCE WITH COMPASSION: ADON LIFTS HER PROFESSION
by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
The nursing staff at Grace Living Center Wilshire in Oklahoma City is admirable, said Lisa Kennedy, LPN, ADON and staff educator.
“We have a pretty good staff and they seem to be caring. They try to individualize each resident for their needs and try to address them in that manner. They really care,” said Kennedy, who has worked for Grace Living Center for nearly 14 years.
“The thing I like most about this facility is it’s a small facility. And you get to spend time with the residents and get to know them,” she said. “You get to hear their stories from their past and just feel good about the relationships with the residents and the staff.”
She commends the residents for doing their personal best to be active, Kennedy said. Residents also let the staff know when other residents are not feeling well.
“They come to us and let us know when somebody wants us to do something,” she continued. “I like that they’re happy. I think that’s very important.”
Any career can bring its rewards along with challenges and stress. But there are also memories nurses carry within them, reminding them of their purpose. And Kennedy loves all of the residents for who they are.
“I don’t think one resident sticks out. I just like hearing about their past and things that they have been through,” she explained.
One lady who live there had been a school teacher. She continued living at Grace continuing to teach other residents.
“She would be the first one to try to explain something. I guess I like to say they just never lose who they are. So I like that,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy has learned a lot from teachers in her life. After graduating from Douglas High School, Kennedy attended Langston University and later graduated from Platt College to earn her nursing credentials. She began as a CNA when she was in high school. She worked at Terrace Gardens and Grace Living Center NE 21st Street in Oklahoma City.
“Initially I had cared for some family members before. Not completely, but I took turns with my family members to care,” she said. “I think that’s how it all started.”
She fell in love with working with older residents as a CNA. Being a CNA at the time gave her confidence to not be afraid of learning. She was hands-on with the residents instead of simply learning from a book and applying the necessary skills, Kennedy said.
“So a lot of things I had seen as a CNA, I was able to apply that in my nursing skills,” Kennedy said.
She has never forgotten that a CNA performs with the hardest job in a nursing home, she said. Kennedy explained that nurses at different facilities often set their admiration based on titles.
“I think a lot of places forget about how hard the CNAs work to make sure the residents have what they need,” she said. “Just the many tasks they perform in a day is a lot.”
As an educator, Kennedy lets them know of their importance. She will try to encourage and uplift them for the work they do.
“I just try to have something positive to say. Seeing that I’ve been a CNA before, I can relate to some of the struggles they go through,” Kennedy said.
She also encourages them and anyone who is compassionate to consider a nursing career. But first they need to bring with them qualities of patience and caring.
“A lot of people have gone into the nursing field, I think just because of the higher pay wage,” she said.
Those people don’t seem to have made it very far into their fields of nursing, Kennedy said.
“It’s definitely a job that you have to be willing to have some compassion,” said Kennedy, who is also loyal to her residents and the community she serves.
“I think what motivates me the most is I could very well be in a situation where I have to come to a long-term care facility,” she said. “You know I would want to be treated right. I would want someone to care about me and to look out for my best interests.”
She also adheres to Grace Living Centers standards of excellence, she said. Its values help the nursing staff to serve the residents.
“It helps you to remember why we’re here,” Kennedy said.
When away from work Kennedy said life is the same. When she is not caring for a resident, she is caring for her children and family.
“Also, too, I think why I love long-term care is because it’s kind of like being at home,” she said.