“I always wanted to be a nurse—by the time I was in kindergarten I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
Jan Proctor’s list of professional accomplishments from a lifelong career in health care is both lengthy and impressive. “I’ve been a hospital administrator and a vice president of nursing,” says Proctor, now a resident at St. John’s Meadows since December 2014. “I helped open the first neo-natal intensive care unit in the United States. I’ve been a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow.”
“I worked for the state health department when I first finished my Master’s degree (from Long Island University) as a consultant, and that’s when I got into long-term care,” explains Jan. “Then I went to Monroe Community Hospital here in Rochester where I was the associate health administrator.” Jan says she enjoyed her years working in long-term care in Rochester (1976-1980), which was a period of time when she even collaborated with longtime St. John’s President Vincent S. Parks, Jr. on committees and advocacy initiatives. Little did she know how valuable her experience in geriatrics would be when it came time to consider her own care later in life.
In 2014, Jan was looking for a place where she could live independently and successfully age in place. Several factors led to her choosing St. John’s Meadows as her new home, including the size and location of the apartment community sales representative Cindy Ruscio was able to secure for Jan. With Jan’s ongoing concerns about her own health and mobility, she realized she would also need access to the types of services necessary to keep her strong enough to live on her own. “I just knew I had to be in a place, as I grew older, where people would take care of me with skill and kindness.”
Over the past 8 years, the St. John’s spectrum of senior services has certainly served Jan Proctor well. Her unique experience includes several short-term rehabilitation stays at St. John’s Home. “I’ve now been to St. John’s rehab three or four times, and I have nothing but good things to say,” says Jan. Following her most recent stay at St. John’s Home over the New Year, Jan was quick to praise the therapy department. She worked closely with rehabilitation director Rene Weir during daily physical therapy sessions as she continued to build her upper body strength while working to maximize her limited use of her lower extremities.
Jan’s ongoing satisfaction with rehabilitation services at St. John’s is certainly high praise; considering that each of her short-term stays have stood up to the scrutiny of a lifelong nurse who has lofty expectations for her own health care. “They’ve helped me get (back) home several times, and that can’t be forgotten,” said Jan after her return to the Meadows on January 6. She notes that, although some of the people helping her regain strength and endurance during her recoveries have changed over the years, the positive results have remained consistent. “They did it with skill, they did it with their own individual strengths, but most of all, they were kind.”
Each time she is set to return home to St. John’s Meadows following a rehab stay, Jan’s excitement is palpable. She helps arrange her own transfer back home through St. John’s transportation and coordinates with protective services and other departments to ensure that she is set up to be safe in her apartment as she continues to recuperate.
Whether she is at her permanent home at St. John’s Meadows or at St. John’s Home for a short-term rehabilitation stay, Jan references what she calls “the St. John’s attitude” she can feel from the people around her. In her words: “it is welcoming, it’s kind, it’s useful, it’s positive. And to me—as we grow older—we all need more and more of that.”