Now more than ever, Independence Blue Cross recognizes the invaluable role that nurses play in caring for our families and communities. To show our appreciation, we are honoring outstanding nurses in our region through the second annual Celebrate Caring campaign. As part of the campaign, we’re highlighting how our winners and honorees are making a difference in the community through compassion and superior care.
Laura Smith’s mother always knew her daughter was going to be a nurse. As a little girl, she would pretend she was a nurse and care for her baby doll. Laura was inspired by nurses she saw growing up.
“As a child, my grandparents were in and out of the hospital,” she said. “I grew up seeing the compassion of the nurses that cared for them. It drew me to nursing.”
A Calling to Help Others
Laura describes her passion for nursing as a calling. For the past ten years, she’s fulfilled that desire to help others in long-term care.
“It’s rewarding to see the difference you can make during someone’s final years by focusing on their abilities,” said Laura. “I got a lot of satisfaction from knowing that I helped my patients maintain a sense of dignity.”
After several years as a floor nurse and then a charge nurse, Laura realized that she could make a bigger difference for her patients in a management position, which led her to Barclay Friends.
A Bigger Impact
“As a charge nurse, I could make a difference during my shift. In my current position as the Director of Nursing, I can help more people by implementing new and better policies and practices to make the facility better and hopefully influence other nurses to do the same,” she said.
When Laura first arrived at Barclay Friends, one of the first things she did was get rid of all the bed and chair alarms, which alert staff when a patient is trying to get up.
“The alarms weren’t preventing falls. They were just alerting us that someone had already fallen,” she said. “We implemented purposeful rounds, where the staff goes around and proactively helps our residents get up and walk around. It’s about anticipating their needs.”
The change has helped to decrease the amount of falls among residents at Barclay Friends.
Going Above and Beyond
Laura is committed to her patients, and it’s her willingness to go above and beyond for them that inspired her nomination for our Celebrate Caring campaign. Stacy Smith, Laura’s sister, submitted the nomination to recognize Laura’s efforts to help evacuate patients from a fire at Barclay Friends in 2017 and get them to safety.
“Without hesitation, she helped pull residents and staff from the building,” said Stacy. “Since that day, she has worked hard to help rebuild the facility and ensure that it never happens again.”