Nurse recognized for labour of love
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Nurse recognized for labour of love

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Stephanie Cowan’s love for seniors runs deep.

A Registered Practical Nurse at Helen Henderson Care Centre for almost four years, Stephanie is passionate about treating the people in her care with compassion and kindness.

Speaking from the accredited retirement and long-term care home in Amherstview on a warm September afternoon, the 27-year-old talks with a blunt honesty that is refreshing.

Dressed in a rose coloured shirt and black framed glasses, she blushes when she hears she is the home’s Employee of the Month for October.

“I don’t do this job for the praise, I do it for the residents,” she says when asked her feelings about the workplace award.

“I love the work. It’s funny because I always said I didn’t want to work in long-term care. But it was my first job and it felt like home. It just fit.”

Growing-up, Stephanie was exposed to the charm and wisdom of seniors through her grandmother who lived nearby.

“I’ve been around seniors all my life,” says the friendly brunette with a smile.

Asked to describe what she likes about her job, she pauses before answering.

“I get to be their family,” she says thoughtfully. “There are some residents who don’t have relatives or friends who can visit. I get to be that constant in their lives even when they don’t recognize things anymore.

“I spend eight hours a day with these residents, many of whom suffer from dementia,” she continues softly. “I see many things other people don’t see. It’s nice to share these details with families that mourn for a loved-one who has lost parts of themselves to an aggressive disease.”

Looking around the secure unit where she has worked evenings for the past year, Stephanie admits, “I have lived the family side of it. My great grandmother suffered from dementia and I saw her decline. Some of the things these families are going through, I’ve been through.”

Originally from Enterprise and currently living in Kingston, the young nurse is mindful of the needs of people involved in long-term care.

“In this line of work, we’re not just taking care of residents - families need emotional support, too,” she says wisely.

Asked to describe herself, Stephanie says with a smile, “I think I’m quiet, but at the same time, I’m passionate about what I do.”

That passion is evident to everyone around her.

“Stephanie is friendly, welcoming and very approachable,” says Joan Sherman, daughter of a resident at the home and nominator of the workplace award.

“She always takes time to talk to me, to seek out answers to my questions and to allay or follow-up on my concerns. I never feel like I am bothering her or taking-up her time unnecessarily. Regardless of my mom's mood, she is consistently warm and patient. If I am leaving and my mom is particularly anxious, Stephanie readily steps in to distract or comfort her resulting in both mom and I being less distressed.

“In my view, Stephanie is a caring professional and it is a pleasure to nominate her for this recognition,” says Joan. “It is very well-deserved.”

Stephanie seems pleased with the feedback.

“The residents come first,” she says with her trademark passion. “They’re special.”

Helen Henderson Care Centre is proud to have Stephanie Cowan on our nursing team. 

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