Mary Susan Timion, BSN, RN, Director, Life Care at Summit Place Senior Living couldn’t explain how she felt when she connected with a senior client of hers so she took a few moments and wrote her experience down on paper to capture the essence of one interaction she had with her client. Through tear filled eyes, she shared this moment during a company meeting because she wanted everyone to know the power that comes from conversation, from building relationships with clients and the unexpected outcomes that happen when we go beyond medical and get to the good stuff – sparking lives.
At Summit Place Senior Living where Lifesprk provides on-site home care to residents, Mary Susan sees clients all the time but this one moment that marked her exact two month anniversary with Lifesprk left her with emotions that reinforced her ‘why’ – why she became a nurse and why Lifesprk’s approach has her ready for more stories and opportunities to change her clients’ lives.
Here’s her story….
“As I celebrated my second month, there were no parades or accolades but a simple and gracious surrender of victory to the ‘nearly complete’ probationary period that looms overhead with any new job. Conquered was the onboarding and the billing process followed by tentative acceptance from staff because the last Director was adored and loved by so many. Enter my client who for the sake of privacy we will call Henry. His daughter found my world through service recovery. Family professional standards are high and the expectations convicting. The Lifesprk process introduced me to an amazing man.
Henry is a world class architect with exhausting achievements. His vital signs and assessments began our new relationship, but I quickly realized our connection was a bit deeper. Office drop-ins became regular, but the new reunion became sparked with a shared unexpected conversation.
We sat side by side in my office on a common day. His life album was in hand. He sat with no immediate agenda with the exception of sharing his life with me. (LOL) He opened his album of certificates to 1962. (This was two years before I was born.) I instantly envisioned New Hampshire when he built his first hospital. He smiled as I looked at his accomplishments ‘prior’ to my existence. He carried me through the next 25 years of enormous achievements. We went from New York and Florida together and completely across the United States. As his timeline progressed, I became an adult. Our bicentennial years flashed by as we laughed and skipped through decades like we were playing hop-scotch. Through sharing, he leads me to a special day, his birthday. He was born February 4. I was shocked because we shared the same birthday. (Not the year of course but for both our sakes we’ll leave those years out.)
Everything changed at that moment. We shared our lives together through his achievements, but our birthdate cemented us. His eyes were fully sparked when we discovered our birthday connection. I will never forget his eyes. For just a moment, we were the same age. I just can’t explain it.
On my two month anniversary, I’m so grateful for being a small fragment of this great company. Thank you Lifesprk.”
We love this story for many reasons but mostly because Mary Susan was compelled to tell it. Maybe it’s the whole person difference, maybe it’s the type of nurse she is, regardless of the reasons it’s a great reminder that people want opportunities to share who they are. Their stories are the framework for their identity and sharing them can quickly change the nurse-client relationship. It’s these sweet moments that are often overlooked in a fast-paced healthcare system when we don’t stop, listen and indulge in our senior client’s stories. They matter – not just to seniors, but to those who serve them, too.