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A Culture of Care and Gratitude



From L to R: Kelly Johnson, Bob Speelman, Johnnathan Pabon, Michael Dewey

November 21, 2018
My Journey as an STNA took me this week to Jefferson Healthcare Center, our 99 -bed skilled nursing facility in Jefferson, Ohio. Kelly Johnson is the Administrator at Jefferson, and Kelly is doing an outstanding job leading this facility and making a difference in the lives of her staff and residents! One of those staff members I had the honor of working alongside was Johnnathan Pabon. Johnnathan has been an STNA for 10 years, 8 of which has been at Jefferson Healthcare Center.

Johnnathan was born in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, a town on the Northern Coast of Puerto Rico approximately 50 miles west of San Juan. In September of 1998, when Johnnathan was 7 years old, Hurricane George hit Puerto Rico and the town of Arecibo. Johnathan’s family lost everything. Johnnathan told me his family was at a crossroads; do they rebuild their lives there or do they move to the States? His mom and dad decided to move. Johnnathan’s uncle lived and worked in Jefferson, Ohio so that is where they went to begin again.

I asked Johnnathan how he got into healthcare and he said, “My Grandma was a nurse and I wanted to follow in her footstep caring for people.” Johnnathan has a very good way with the residents and his coworkers. Some of the comments from the residents and his coworkers about Johnnathan were:

“He’s got a good spirit.”
“He’s always willing to do whatever it takes and never complains.”
“He respects the residents.”
“He likes helping us.”
“He treats us like he would want to be treated, he’s so kind.”

The day I was there was the annual Turkey Bowl at the facility. The staff all helped the residents down to the dining room and the residents were divided into two teams. It was “THE GOBBLERS” vs “THE WISHBONES.” I couldn’t tell you who won, well actually I can, we all did! To see Johnnathan and the staff at Jefferson help the residents sling a frozen turkey across the dining room floor and knock down the bowl pins and to hear the laughter and cheers, it warmed your heart.

As things were winding down, one resident daughter came to pick her up and take her home for Thanksgiving and Johnnathan and I were helping get her things and get her ready to go. Before the resident left, she went around to the staff at the facility asking them if they had a Thanksgiving Dinner? She was making sure any staff that didn’t already have one would be getting one from her when she came back. That’s a Culture of Care!!!

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

I left Jefferson Healthcare with a heart full of gratitude. I’m so grateful that we have caregivers like Johnnathan. I’m grateful that we have administrators like Kelly. And I’m grateful that we have residents that love our staff and want to make sure they have a meal for Thanksgiving. I pray that we all have that kind of love and concern for each other. Let’s continue to build this Culture of Care!

Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving,

Bob Speelman, STNA

Jefferson Website

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