August 11

Shining a Spotlight on Nursing: Chapter Three

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

With 2020 designated as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by the World Health Assembly, we have been shining a spotlight on the registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants in the assisted living and memory care communities Gardant operates.

Most recently, we focused on Stephanie Sell, Director of Nursing at Heritage Woods of Ottawa, and Mychelle Benton, who serves as the Director of Memory Care at White Oaks of South Elgin.

You can read about them by clicking here.

Today, our Blog features Karen Sherley, Director of Nursing at Heritage Woods of Benton, and Shannon Montgomery, Director of Nursing at Evergreen Village in Bloomington, Indiana.

 

Karen Sherley

Karen Sherley, Director of Nursing at Heritage Woods of Benton

At what age did you decide to go into nursing?      

32

What sparked your desire to become a nurse?

I was a stay-at-home wife and mother for 12 years. When the coal mine closed where my husband worked, we needed to find another way to support our family financially. A friend of mine had just started nursing school for the same reason. I started the next semester at Rend Lake College in Ina, Illinois. I completed my Bachelor’s in Nursing through McKendree College.

How did you career as a nurse start?

It started in 1990. I was hired straight out of nursing school to work in Labor and Delivery at Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. I also taught childbirth classes and would work in the newborn nursery and postpartum. I also have worked as a nurse in a physician’s office and home health. I have been working in assisted living since 2009, first as Director of Nursing at Heritage Woods of Mt. Vernon and then transferred to Heritage Woods of Benton.

What do you find most satisfying about nursing?

When working in Labor and Delivery, being able to share in the family joy of birth. Yes, there were some sad times, but I got to experience a miracle almost every day.

What motivated you to work in assisted living?

I wanted a new adventure in my nursing career.

What do you like best about working in an assisted living community?

Listening to their stories; seeing their face light up when you visit and talk to them.

When you are not working, what might we find you doing?

Baking, cooking, spending time with my daughters, husband and granddaughters. Going to Florida during the summer. Going to Texas to see my son.

 

Shannon Montgomery

Shannon Montgomery, Director of Nursing at Evergreen Village at Bloomington

At what age did you decide to go into nursing?

12

What sparked your desire to become a nurse?

My grandma who raised me was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given three months to live. A Hospice nurse came to the house to show us how to care for her at home and helped us provide a dignified end for her in the comfort of her own home. I was in awe and had so much respect for this nurse for bringing comfort to our family and to grandma that I knew what my calling was then.

How did you career as a nurse start?

Bloomington Hospital as a nurse tech, then a nurse intern and then a Registered Nurse.

What do you find most satisfying about nursing?

Making residents feel loved and important. When they thank me for taking time to help them or to address their concerns. I know they genuinely mean it. It feels amazing to make someone feel good again and to help them in a time of need when they need to be comforted or reassured.

What motivated you to work in assisted living?

My first 15 years of nursing were in acute and skilled care. The pace in assisted living is a bit slower; we get more one-on-one time with residents. Socializing with them is really enjoyable.

What do you like best about working in an assisted living community?

We operate as a family at Evergreen. I said in the beginning it takes a village. I’m grateful for my clinical staff who come to work each day strong and dedicated. I’ve never worked with a better group, who I consider family. Their dedication and compassion for care is amazing.

When you are not working, what might we find you doing?

I have two daughters – Lexie, 17, and Bella, 13. Lexie currently is in Missouri at Fort Leonard Woods for Army Basic Training. So you’ll hear what a proud Army Mom I am. My youngest learned to cook this summer with the help of a little video chat with her momma on her lunch break.

In my “free time” I love the outdoors – boating, camping, kayaking, fishing and spend as much time out with my best friend as possible. My German shepherd Eris is my hiking buddy.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Prayers to all of the other assisted living communities for all of your efforts and hard work during COVID. It’s been difficult emotionally and physically. Thank you to everyone for continuing to push forward.

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