“Be the exception. Be the person people can count on.”
Janet Shank’s strengths include attention to detail and follow-through. For the last 22 ½ years, patients and colleagues at VMRC have counted on those qualities.
Janet wanted to become a nurse when she was a young girl living in a missionary family in Uruguay. She always had a knack for helping people and understanding how people feel at any given moment.
She went on to become a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University’s second nursing school class.
“Nursing is one of those degrees that you’re going to use whatever you’re doing in life. It teaches caring by details, about follow through, all that stuff,” Janet said.
Janet applied her nursing skills to raising two children, farming alongside her husband (and delivering the offspring of animals), operating a neighborhood bakery and after her children grew up, caring for patients and residents at VMRC.
“I came to work here and I found a supportive community,” Janet said. “I felt loved by my fellow co-workers and the residents, which was amazing.”
When Janet began her time at VMRC there wasn’t a skilled nursing neighborhood, only long-term nursing care in the campus’s Oak Lea building. Over time, Janet watched nursing care services expand and grow. She amassed a great deal of organizational knowledge. She also added to her academic credentials by becoming trained in infection control well before the start of the pandemic.
She never dreamed she’d need to put that knowledge to use as a member of VMRC’s pandemic response team. Her training and insight into infection control became integral to the committee’s work to keep residents safe.
Janet is also a mentor who plans to leave behind the tools her fellow staff members need to carry on.
She combined information into a big green binder. Written on the cover are the words, “I Can Do That!”
It’s an example of yet another role Janet plays — a mentor.
Throughout her time at VMRC, Janet has provided support to new nurses caring for the medical and emotional needs of older adult patients for the first time.
Janet also has advice for those considering a career in nursing—an area of great need, particularly in the senior living sector.
“When we first encounter people, they’re usually not at their best, often at their worst and they need to feel accepted, loved and secure,” Janet said. “We get them to trust this process of healing. So, nursing takes knowing all those parts,” Janet added.
Looking ahead, Janet is planning her life in retirement. She’s figuring out how to include the activities she couldn’t always fit into her schedule. Janet is also diving deeper into an activity she and her husband enjoy — loom weaving.
Janet is a true renaissance woman and embodies the ethos of aging well and living fully.
Do you want to learn about VMRC’s open roles in nursing? Visit our careers page and consider how you can make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.