Associate Close-Up: Pam Walker
We recently sat down with the RN Care Coordinator at The Shores to learn more about her life and the passion she has for senior care and services . These are her words:
Q: What is your name and position?
A: I’m Pam Walker, the Registered Nurse Care Coordinator at The Shores.
Q: What do you like best about working for United Methodist Communities?
A: I love the opportunity to work for a progressive, forward-thinking organization with a vision all about abundant living for residents and associates.
Q: What makes United Methodist Communities unique?
A: The ability to transform and reinvent to meet the current needs of the communities we serve, in a way that far surpasses the quality of any competitor’s service line offered in our area.
Q: What does Abundant Life mean to you?
A: Having the ability and freedom to make choices that impact my life, whether spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical.
Q: What have you learned from working at UMC?
A: I am still learning every day!
Q: What has been your proudest moment at UMC?
A: Two stand out: the Supper Club fundraiser I organized and performed in last June, and the Black History Month Program/Travelling Museum of The Civil Rights in South Jersey, this past February! I love the fact that I AM VALUED and my contributions matter!
Q: What has been your career progression at UMC?
A: I have been a nurse since 1999. I began as an licensed practicing nurse (LPN), and I went back to school and completed my registered nurse (RN) degree in 2006. Prior to nursing, I was in healthcare, but in the insurance industry.
Q: Why did you choose senior care and services?
A: I knew that my nursing career would be in the field of senior care or end-of-life. People would often ask me why and my response continues to be, “Where else and in what other career can I be so richly educated and mentored about quality of living and Abundant Life?” I have learned volumes throughout my career thus far and I still have plenty of ink in my pen!
Q: Is there an older adult who had a strong influence on your life?
A: Without a doubt, my mother. She was a nurse’s assistant for over 25 years! She was the ultimate caregiver in my eyes. I often tell people that I grew up a “nursing home” kid.
I remember the pride my mother took in caring for her patients, and the time my sister and I spent meticulously ironing her whites (they all had to wear white uniforms then). She was the epitome of professionalism, caring and compassion. She was one-of-a-kind!
I remember how proud she was when I became director of nursing at a previous facility. To her, I might as well have been the CEO! She was my hero.
Q: Do you have a prominent memory of your grandmother and/or grandfather?
A: I remember my paternal grandmother, even though I was only three when she died. I remember a trip to the A&P grocery store and she got me the biggest strawberry I had ever seen. People who knew her often tell me how I remind them of her. They say she was a beautiful, proud, strong, Christ-loving woman! I am beyond proud and grateful for that special memory and that people think I reflect her qualities.
Q: Do the residents inspire you?
A: Yes, the residents definitely inspire me.
Q: Does one resident stand out?
A: If I had to choose one particular resident, it would be Mrs. Betty Renquest. Betty often appears sad or grumpy and will usually tell you that she feels “terrible.” Some tend to shy away from Betty stating that she’s too negative. However, she has a story just like everyone else. I always like to root for the underdog or the least likely chosen because that has sometimes been my story too! But I love Betty because she’s not afraid to be seen or heard just as she is. That’s authentic, in my opinion.
Q: Where did you grow up? Where else have you lived?
A: I grew up in a small Cape May County town called Whitesboro, the same place where Oprah’s beau, Stedman Graham is from. I moved to North Jersey in the late 80s to attend college at Montclair University, but found my way back to South Jersey in a few short years. I am hopeless shore girl!
Q: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
A: I love my FAMILY, music, the arts, fellowshipping with friends, dancing and just about anything that’s lively and brings joy!
Q: What is your favorite family tradition?
A: I don’t know if we have a favorite tradition. We definitely have family times that are special but we keep things pretty fluid. Rigid tradition can sometimes be hindering, especially once children are grown and have their own lives and agendas.
With everyone being so busy and work schedules so crazy, we just make it a point to get together whenever everyone has off from work. So essentially, any given day can turn into a celebration!
Q: What are you most grateful for?
A: I am most grateful for my relationship with Christ! Although I am far from perfect, my relationship with Christ and my faith in His redemptive plan grants me the LIBERTY to choose Abundant Life! He is Life. He is Love. And He knows what’s absolutely best for me. I love being a Christ-Follower, a “God-Chaser.” My faith is my ROCK.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
A: Just grateful for the opportunity to share parts of my story and belong to such a growing organization. UMC at THE SHORES ROCKS!