Meet Laura White, Director of Staff Development

Picture It . Boonsboro 2021. You are walking past the main dining room when, out of the corner of your eye, you see it. It’s a universal sign so really, you can’t miss it. The hands around the throat, the sound of breathing getting difficult, the person’s inability to talk: CHOKING. Your instincts kick in and you rush over to help but, there’s no need. A member of the dietary staff knows the heimlich maneuver and has saved the day. Since your services are no longer needed, you turn to walk away, but that’s when you hear it:

The sound of a body collapsing on the floor.

One look at their pale skin and blue face and you know instantly: CARDIAC ARREST. Mass panic ensues as a bystander yells out “does anyone know CPR?”

All eyes land on you.

Well. Do you?

There’s a lot that goes into working in a skilled nursing facility. It goes without saying that all front line workers need to have medical knowledge and the basic understanding of what to do in a medical emergency. But what about those employees not considered front line workers? Shouldn’t they also have to know what to do in an emergency? Who’s responsible for showing them what to do?

The funny thing about education is that it is not just limited to job skills. There’s annual certifications that staff have to complete. There’s in-service training that is required depending on job and skill level. Our staff need to have knowledge of the Electronic Medical Records system to be able to chart patients correctly. In a pandemic, all staff need to know the proper use of PPE as well as proper hand washing techniques (Holy Kindergarten Batman!) and front line workers need to be fit tested for K-N95 masks in order to treat patients on a floor with an outbreak of Covid. Also, because emergencies can happen in places like the dining room, it is vital that all staff be trained in choking and CPR techniques in the event of an emergency. And also because everyone should be forced to have the song Stayin’ Alive stuck in their head for the remainder of time. Besides staff, there is a whole incoming group of future caregivers who are in school and need a place to perform their clinical rotation. Fahrney Keedy participates with area schools in order to offer the best hands on education in a fast-paced environment so students can learn first-hand what it is like to work in a senior living or skilled nursing facility to determine if this is the career path that they want to proceed down. Some of our interns actually end up working here upon completion of their studies. Someone has to be able to manage all of those clinical and cooperative programs, but who?

When it rains, it pours and everything listed above falls under the umbrella of Staff Development. In order for our staff to be at their very best, they need to be well trained in all areas of their job and they need to have the proper educational tools to be able to do that job effectively. One individual is responsible for educating our staff and aiding in their development. And much like Tiger Woods at the Masters, they better not miss.

Every week, we will be highlighting a member of the Fahrney Keedy Family to learn a little bit more about their life and career. They will be offering a unique perspective on their role as well as advice for those considering a career in senior living.

This week, we get a snapshot into the life and career of Laura Cheung, Director of Staff Development.

Where did you go to school? What was your major? “Salisbury University, Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing”

Do you have any other certifications? “CPR and First Aid Instructor. To date, I have certified 1,000 people! I’m also a Post-Acute Care Certified Staff Educator.”

When did you know you wanted to be a nurse? What drew you to your current position? “In high school, I was very close with a friend’s sister who was a nurse. She was a kind and caring person and I thought “I want to be just like that!” I always had been attracted to the healthcare field but hearing her love of the profession absolutely made me want to be a nurse. As far as Staff Development, I love mentoring and watching others grow personally and professionally. Being a clinical educator allows me to help others be more comfortable in their skills through education and support. “

What brought you to Fahrney Keedy? “I followed our President/CEO Steve Coetzee and Executive Director of Clinical Services Julia McGlaughlin-Wiles when they came here in 2015. I loved working with them and wanted to continue being a part of their team.”

In honor of #tbt, we want to throw it back to your first day at Fahrney Keedy. What do you remember? “I remember being so nervous but so excited for the opportunity to be the Staff Development Coordinator.”

What does a day in the life look like for you? What are your duties and responsibilities? “A lot of my time is spent on educational and training needs of our staff. Whether I’m coordinating and offering trainings,, providing group or 1:1 training, obtaining resources, or developing in-services based off of facility and staff needs. I also spend a lot of time with our Electronic Healthcare Record system from a clinical standpoint from developing the system to tailor to our needs to staff technical support.”

Do you have a favorite memory from your time spent working here that you would be willing to share? ” My favorite moment was during a bad snowstorm. I came out and my car was shoveled and dug out by a group of co-workers that were clearing cars off. The more people came out, the more that joined to help. It just showed how our staff is a team, both in and out of the building!”

This pandemic has been hard for everyone but especially for those individuals working in healthcare. How did you personally get through it? ” Being able to talk to my co-workers about my frustrations and fears helped a lot. Knowing that a lot of other healthcare workers were feeling the same and could empathize was comforting.”

Oscar Wilde once said “with age comes wisdom”. What advice would you give to your younger self? “Stay true to yourself and try not to take things so personally! Understand that everyone has different personalities and life circumstances, so don’t rely on others for your own happiness – create your own!”

What advice would you give to someone interested in working in Staff Development? “Be open and receptive – you never know how uncomfortable someone might be coming for help. No one is perfect (yourself/me included!) so be patient and kind to someone’s learning needs. “

And, last question, why should someone choose to join the Fahrney Keedy team? “The staff here truly care about our residents. They go above and beyond to make sure our residents feel at home and know that they are family. Our staff work hard and their dedication shows through every day they are here.”

*By the time this article is published, Laura will be GETTING MARRIED! Congratulations to the new Mr. & Mrs. White!

Five Second Pose!

We asked Laura five rapid fire questions to get to know her a little better:

Favorite Color – Purple

Favorite Movie – Wedding Crashers

Favorite Disney Character – Stitch from Lilo & Stitch

Favorite Superhero – Batman

Favorite Actor, Age 65 and Over – Pierce Brosnan

1 Fun Fact – Laura has a Korean middle name that translates to “leader” in English. It makes her proud of her heritage and uniqueness.

Thank you so much to Laura Cheung for sharing! Stay tuned next week when we add another photo to our Family Album!