Jen has been a registered nurse for 35 years and says she values the relationship aspect of the job above all else.

“I love my job and enjoy coming into CONNECT and knowing everyone on a first-name basis,” said Jen, during a July interview. “The people who work here really make you feel like part of the team. You get feedback and feel important to the overall goals of CONNECT. You don’t get that when you work in a big hospital because you’re just a small part of a really big wheel. At CONNECT, you’re here because of who you are and you’re recognized for that.”

Jen, who sometimes wonders if she should have gone into social work because she loves helping families with their problems, had early plans to become a nurse.

“At the age of 10, I thought I’d be a nurse or a vet. It wasn’t easy to get into nursing. It took me three years to get in. But I’m glad I did because I really enjoy working with people and problem solving with them.”

She has been problem solving and building relationships since 1979 when she graduated from nursing. Jen worked in the intensive care unit doing critical care at Vernon Jubilee. She then spent nearly 14 years at Kelowna General Hospital in the Heart Catheterization Lab.

She said she has loved all of the work throughout her career, but has definitely found a good fit at CONNECT.

“I do a lot of listening as Health and Wellness Coach at CONNECT,” said Jen. “My door is open for staff, residents and family to come in and discuss health issues, complaints or anything else they want to talk about.”

She feels the biggest drawback to her role is there doesn’t seem to be enough time to spend in the houses with staff and residents.

“There is a lot of documentation with medication and health related issues and reports to write, and there is daily interaction with the other coaches with planning and setting goals.  I get out in the houses as much as I can to see residents as needed and for regular health and wellness meetings with the House Staff. ”

She  meets with all staff when they attend the Medication Training, but would love to have more time to interact  with everyone at CONNECT.

When Jen started with CONNECT, she had been working part-time. She agreed to work full-time until things got rolling and is now preparing to go down to four days per week after 5 and half years.

“I am looking forward to doing more puttering around the house and travelling to see my kids and grandkids.”

Jen has four kids and “a very supportive husband, Joe. He was one of those dads who got right in there changing diapers right from the very beginning. He has always been very involved with all the kids.”

Her home doubles as her cottage with a view of the lake and close beach access.  She said she and her family have always loved spending time at the beach.

Now, their oldest child is married and lives in Calgary, they have one child in Victoria and two in Nanaimo.

In September, Jen and Joe will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.

Jen’s husband will retire early next year and the couple is excited to enjoy more time at home and have the flexibility to travel.

“I am not ready to retire yet, but hope to gradually wean myself into retirement,” said Jen.

She said her work at CONNECT is very rewarding and she’s proud to have been a part of Lake Country since the beginning.

“This has been a wonderful experience and I truly value the connections I’ve made with the staff and residents. CONNECT has been very fulfilling experience for me.”