At Concordia Lutheran Ministries, our employees are at the heart and hands of our mission – they care for our residents and patients with their hard work, kindness and empathy and keep our organization running with their leadership, vision and dedication.
Watching our amazing staff handle the unprecedented challenges of 2020 that continue into this year has been truly inspiring, so we chose to highlight just a few in our 2021 Concordia Calendar as a proclamation of gratitude for their many contributions. Though we wish there could be 3,000 pages in the calendar to feature all of our employees, this small sampling is representative of our extraordinary staff as a whole. Each month, we’ll introduce you to the talented, compassionate team members featured in our calendar.
April’s employees are Sierra Huellen, Concordia Private Care personal care aide, Ryan Tappe, Good Samaritan Hospice licensed social worker and Bridget Fash, Good Samaritan Hospice inpatient RN supervisor. While Sierra could not participate in the interview this week, we hope to feature her in an upcoming blog post.
Q: Why do you choose to work for Concordia?
Ryan: I had previously worked in a hospital setting and knew of Good Samaritan Hospice by the great reputation they had for providing compassionate care to patients who required hospice. I was notified of an open position by a current employee who described the workplace atmosphere as positive and caring, so I applied. I believe in the mission of Concordia and the value they place on caring for their patients.
Bridget: I wanted a stable company that had a well-known reputation that I could become a valued asset with and further my career over the years. I had also wanted to be a hospice nurse for as long as I could remember. As soon as I knew that Concordia would be opening the Good Samaritan Hospice Heritage Valley Beaver Unit, I said “I’ll be there someday” and here I am!
Q: What aspects do you love most about your career?
Ryan: I enjoy being able to help individuals who are in need or are feeling vulnerable. Going home and knowing I may have helped to improve someone’s quality of life, or even might have just put a smile on their face, is a good feeling.
Bridget: Helping to provide care – whether it be physical, spiritual or emotional – to patients and their families in the most sacred, final months, weeks, days, hours of their lives.
Q: How do you best serve your patients and residents?
Ryan: The best way I can serve my patients is by being a source of support for them. I try to be someone my patients can turn to for support without having to worry about being judged. I don’t always have an answer or solution for every issue; however, sometimes the best thing I can do is listen as they talk about their struggles or concerns. Whether their concern may seem big or small, having someone who is willing to listen, validate the feelings they are experiencing and offer support can go a long way.
Bridget: I treat them as my own family and how I would want my love one to be treated.
Q: How do you decompress after a long day at work?
Ryan: I have a lot of decompressing activities. I mostly exercise, watch sports, or spend time with my wife. I also like reading, listening to talk radio, and trying to teach myself German.
Bridget: A cup of hot coffee, favorite TV shows, and my recliner. On the weekends, I enjoy spending time with family and my adorable grandson – Granny’s little buddy!
Q: Can you tell us about a time you and/or your co-workers went above and beyond during the pandemic?
Ryan: The pandemic brought many challenges to how we deliver healthcare to our patients. All of my coworkers have gone above and beyond every day during this pandemic. It really shows in everyone’s ability to coordinate with each other to meet our patients’ needs. Nurses have been willing to meet me wherever and whenever was needed so that they could administer COVID-19 swabs to patients who needed to go into long term care or respite care. Home health aides who constantly adjust their schedules to meet our patients’ needs were also willing to call or set-up video connections for family members who weren’t able to visit their loved ones in facilities. Spiritual care and my fellow social workers were always willing to provide the extra support to those family members struggling with not being able to visit. And of course, the office staff are always great support for us when we are in need in the field.
Bridget: It was difficult and heart breaking with the visitation limitations. We were grateful that hospice was allowed two visitors at bedside and although we faced challenges, we tried our best to serve all patients and their families with dignity. We tried to allow them to be together during the most sacred time of passing, even if it was just one time. We would do video calls with portable phones held to loved one’s ears so families could talk to them and just tried to be in “the moment” to provide support and guidance to get them through the difficult time they were facing.
To learn more about the career opportunities with Concordia’s Home and Community Services team, visit www.concordiacareers.org. To request a free copy of the 2021 Concordia Calendar, call the Public Relations Department at 724-352-1571, ext 8268.
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