Q&A with Shawn Smith, Director of Nursing at Concordia Life Plan Community

Tell us a little about you.

I am originally from Okmulgee, Okla. I moved to Oklahoma City in 2010, where I have lived now for 11 years. I started working at Concordia in June 2018 as the assistant director of nursing and I was promoted to director of nursing in May 2019. Prior to working at Concordia, I worked in rehab nursing, hospice, and home health.

How have things at work changed since the pandemic?

Oh my – Where do I start! Screening before entering the building, social distancing, residents eating in their rooms, limited or no visitors/family members in most cases, so many changes! 

How has Concordia supported you and your staff during this challenging time?

Concordia provided everything we needed, from supplies to food. Every Friday, we were given food to take home for dinner or the weekend. They provided lunch twice a week and endless snacks for all the shifts.  Concordia also raised spirits with pep-talks and free gift cards. Every week we had Zoom calls with our CEO, Danny Eischen, to keep us updated on the community’s rules and changing expectations. I cannot say enough good things about what Concordia has done for its staff.

Are there any special moments you remember from the past few months that put a smile on your face?

It was priceless to see the smiles on residents’ faces as we opened the doors to allow visitors back into the community. The laughter and positive feedback we have heard from re-opening the dining rooms for meals has also brought a big smile to my face.

What is it like to work in a community like Concordia?

It has been challenging during the pandemic, but definitely rewarding. Nursing is my ministry.  Even though Concordia has four different communities—Assisted Living, Memory Care, Independent Living, Skilled Nursing/Long-Term Care—it is the perfect size. It affords me the ability to get to know a lot of our residents on a very personal level. I love working at Concordia.  I love that we have teamwork and it feels like a family.

How important do you think nursing professionals are in communities like Concordia?

VERY important! Nursing professionals are in high demand at this time. Concordia is blessed to have a group of dedicated and compassionate CNAs, CMA, and nurses. They work tirelessly to provide the best care possible to our residents. Concordia loves its Healthcare Heroes.