There are few people in British Columbia who are as passionate about seniors and their care as Shannon Paul-Jost.
Through a long career in nursing and a desire to make her own community better, Shannon is an Everyday Champion for older adults. She has years of experience working with seniors and is deeply knowledgeable about this population, their challenges, needs and the barriers they encounter.
Her experience has served her well as a Clinical Nurse Specialist on the Long-term Care Services team for Interior Health. This team of 24 employees is part of a larger team for Seniors Specialized Care Transformation, which is responsible for setting the strategic direction for seniors across all sectors within Interior Health (IH).
A Registered Nurse, she also holds a Master of Science in Nursing degree and Gerontological Nurse Certification through the Canadian Nursing Association. All of this – and more – helps make Shannon a visionary leader with a broad systems-level perspective of the health care system that greatly influences the health and well-being of seniors.
“Her dedication and passion for her work serve as a shining example for future caregivers, motivating them to provide the best possible care to our senior population” says Joanna Harrison, Executive Director of Seniors Specialized Care Transformation at IH.
For example, says Joanna, Shannon played a pivotal role in the response to the pandemic.
“She tirelessly cared for seniors by leading aspects of the emergency response team (ERT), providing support during outbreaks, staffing crises and supporting the long-term care immunization process. Shannon was at the front lines, elbow to elbow with new nurses and leaders in this response, resulting in 100% of our long-term care and assisted living facilities receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. During this process, she embodied care for the caregivers, including staff and families, by providing them with the utmost care and compassion. Her leadership in infection control measures was instrumental in protecting vulnerable seniors.”
Shannon is also skilled in community development. She understands that community is an integral component of team-based care, and she challenges the status quo by advocating for communities to become authorities on health decisions.
And her commitment extends beyond day-to-day care. She has volunteered at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO), with the UBCO Student Union, and with women’s groups where she has been a strong advocate for education and removing barriers for people.
She has also been actively involved in community development initiatives, promoting healthy aging programs and fostering partnerships with local organizations to support seniors’ well-being. Shannon designed a very well-received ‘Move it and Mingle’ exercise program for seniors in the community. She inspires others to stay engaged and sees the individual along the care continuum, from their home in community to entry into long-term care.
Joanna says Shannon is person-centered, consistently thinks of how policies and practice standards will impact residents, and always tries to find ways to improve care and health outcomes. She is passionate about seniors and belongs to many organizations which assists her in keeping up to date on best practice. She loves to research and often shares literature with co-workers on new and upcoming practices. She’ll also regularly take the lead in providing seniors-related communication materials for Interior Health, such as for Seniors Week and Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.
“Shannon brings a positive, can-do attitude to every project or assignment she is tasked with,” says Joanna. “She leads by example and shares a clear vision of quality improvement. She is approachable and willing to hear the opinions of others. She has a kind and caring demeanour. Although Shannon’s workload is large, she always takes time to recognize and acknowledge the contributions of others, demonstrating to others that one of her core values is appreciation for others and the difference that they make.”