CAREERS IN NURSING
IT’S ALL IN THE FAMILY – BRADFORD VILLAGE ASSISTED LIVING
by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
Lydia Stewart smiles when asked what has kept her career centered at Bradford Village for a decade.
“It’s the people and taking care of the residents,” said Stewart, LPN, Health and Wellness director at the Bradford Village Retirement Community for assisted living, located in Edmond. “It just gives me a good feeling to know how appreciated I am by the residents. They give me love back. I feel their love every time I walk through the dining room.”
The dietary department has not been issued a deficiency during a state survey since 2010. The entire building has not gotten a deficiency for two years.
She has been a licensed practical nurse for 34 years and graduated from a vocational technical institute in Minnesota, she said. During the first seven years of her career Stewart was working in a small town hospital.
She’s proud to say that she will celebrate 10 years of working at Bradford Village in January. She worked in long-term care at first and also gained experience in skilled nursing. Stewart also did MDS coordinating office work in the nursing home before she transferred to assisted living. Stewart has served in her current capacity at the assisted living center for four years.
“I still have a lot of people I am very fond of at the main building,” she said. “The one’s here (assisted living) are the ones that keep me here.”
Stewart said the staff at the assisted living center is very kind and caring to both the residents and to other staff members. That is what she admires about their persona, she said.
Their knowledge about what they will be doing is important, Stewart said. Integrity goes a long way for a nurse as honest and caring people. So Stewart looks for employees who are passionate about geriatric care.
“They treat all of my residents like they are part of their family,” she said. “When they are very concerned with a resident they are quick to come to me and say something is not right with so-and-so. You know it’s very important to me that anyone who works for me has a caring attitude toward them.”
Some of her former patients that she had in the skilled nursing unit are now coming to live at the assisted living center, she said. Stewart recognizes them from the time she spent helping them in skilled nursing.
She said knowing that she has spent time helping the residents is important to them because it makes them feel more comfortable. She also has an open door for the residents in assisted living to come talk to her about any issue.
One of her staff members, Denise Egger, has worked for Bradford for more than 30 years. Another one, Alesia Guin, has 17 years of longevity.
She said it benefits the residents when having a continuity of familiar faces they know they can rely on and trust. It provides them with a sense of peace, comfort and security. Anxiety is relieved.
“It’s very important to me that not only the residents but their families know they can approach me,” she said.
Bradford Village offers independent living, assisted living, long-term care and skilled nursing, Stewart said.
She laughed when thinking about what caused her to become a nurse 30 years ago. When she was a young girl, her mother had dressed her up as a nurse for Halloween.
“I’ve just always been the nurturing one in the family,” she said. “So everyone just came to me with their boo boos when my mom wasn’t available. So that’s kind of how I got into it.”
Her residents at Bradford Village also carry that nurturing spirit. They also look out for each other, she said. When somebody is not feeling well they will reach out to a familiar staff member because they know they will be well taken care of.
Residents will greet new residents coming to live at the assisted living center. They will also strike up a conversation when new people are touring the building. Residents will introduce themselves and tell them what they enjoy about living at Bradford.
“We have lots of activities going on that they can participate in if they so choose. Overall it’s the warmness of the place. You feel it when you walk in,” she said.
Every month there is a birthday party of the month for everyone who has had a birthday. November will bring a large family Thanksgiving celebration with wall-to-wall tables to include the family members.
“We make sure that everybody is allowed to bring in their family members and share with them,” Stewart said. “We have a 101st birthday coming up for one of our residents. It will be my third one over 100 years old. That’s pretty exciting.”
On Christmas a gift is shared with each resident. On Christmas Eve a story is read and throughout the holiday season there are visiting groups of carolers singing to the residents, said Stewart, who likes to read and see movies.
“We just do different activities related to Christmas,” she said.
I usually panic at work, but Ativan 1mg calms me down and I’m able to get the work done.
Quite a few nurses and retired teacher, physicians, insurance salesmen, dentists and people from all walks of life call the assisted living center their home.
“They all come here and are brother and sisters to each other,” Stewart said. “It was humerous. One of my residents was going on a trip and he came by and said, ‘Ok mom, I’m leaving.’ And he’s 94 years old.”