Several members of the Hawthorne at St. John’s Meadows nursing team have been caring for St. John’s enhanced assisted living residents together for nearly a decade. That kind of staff longevity is impressive and speaks to a certain consistency of care that not only best supports residents, but also helps keep strong clinical teams working together and supporting each other, year after year.
“We have a great team,” says Shannon Hutchinson—one of those seasoned nurses—as she explains the collective mindset of caring for residents with dignity and respect that she shares with her coworkers. “I am very blessed.”
Like the other longtime Hawthorne staff, Shannon’s time at St. John’s goes back even further than her start in assisted living eight years ago. Shannon came to St. John’s Home towards the end of 1999, first as a certified nursing assistant in the Reservoir building. She spent the early part of her career providing care to older adults in long-term care, supported by and learning from a team of veteran nurses and nursing assistants.
From a young age, Shannon says she always knew she wanted to be a nurse. After three years working as a CNA, a grant program being offered at the time gave her the opportunity to pursue that goal. She committed to continue working at St. John’s for another 18 months while completing nursing school through SUNY Brockport’s Educational Opportunity Program. “My hours in school counted as working hours and then I worked shifts at St. John’s to make up the difference of my 40 hours.”
By 2003, Shannon had completed her schooling and was now a licensed practical nurse (LPN). She chose to remain at St. John’s Home for her first nursing job, this time opting to work at the Rehabilitation Center. “I loved rehab,” says Shannon of her 12 years supporting the needs of St. John’s residents receiving short-term rehabilitation. “I absolutely loved it. Being fresh out of school, there was constant learning.”
For Shannon, her experience on the rehab team also meant the added satisfaction of being able to send people home when they had made the necessary progress for discharge. “It was really nice to be able to help make people better,” she says. “I enjoyed that.”
Shannon’s daughter spent her weekdays as a young child at Generations Child Care on the St. John’s Home campus—a convenient location that fit her family’s lifestyle at the time. However, when it was time for her to go to school in Shannon’s hometown of LeRoy, a job with an earlier end time was in order. Shannon found exactly that on the nearby St. John’s Meadows campus at the Hawthorne in 2015, and she has been there ever since.
When asked about the attributes that make a great nurse, Shannon describes the professionals she has spent her career working alongside at St. John’s—as well as the type of nurse she has always strived to be. “Someone who listens and has compassion,” she says. “Someone that is willing to go that extra mile (for the residents). And you have to be encouraging, and patient.”
Shannon says that “St. John’s has been very good to me over the years.” In return, Shannon has been very; very good to the residents for whom she has cared for over nearly a quarter century in St. John’s communities. She talks a lot about helping Hawthorne residents stay motivated and taking the time to bring joy and comfort into their lives, even if that means sometimes doing things that might not typically be considered nursing tasks. “It’s so basic, and it makes all the difference.”