In this week’s episode of the LTC Heroes podcast, we chatted with Nate Schema, Vice President of Operations at The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society—the biggest not-for-profit provider of senior housing and services in the United States.
The main topic of the conversation is public relations in long-term care and how the organization has made more effort to be in the public eye. The episode begins with Nate sharing more information about his background in long-term care. We learn that Nate has over 15 years of experience in the industry.
Nate discusses the importance of caring for residents and treating them as you would family members. He explains how staff members put residents’ needs first and make them feel special.
Then, Nate goes on to explain how The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society used to shy away from the public eye and how they’ve made the steps to change that and why.
We learn how staff members made the brand more visible in the public eye. Towards the end of the episode, Nate also gives advice to other organizations who may want to follow in their footsteps.
Learn how The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society improved their PR strategy to be more visible in the public eye, by tuning into the latest episode of the LTC Heroes podcast with Nate Schema, Vice President of Operations of the company.
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Rapid Fire Q/A
Who would be your long-term care hero or mentor?
I probably look at hero and mentor maybe a little bit differently. But you know, I’ve been pretty impressed with Governor Parkinson and his development and his glide path over the last 30 or even 40 years, going from being a private operator in healthcare to growing his business the way he has.
Why did you go into long-term care?
I was one of those folks that kind of grew up in it, even though I didn’t know I was growing up in it. I had a bunch of nurses around me, my mom, and my aunt. They were in development. They worked in the kind of group home side of things.
Naturally, as I hit high school age and 18, they had me working in the group homes. I had an uncle in health care administration, and they started planting seeds with me.
What advice would you give Nate 15 years ago?
I would probably give him a message around resiliency, and I would say something to the effect of ‘this is tough now but you haven’t seen anything yet.’
Continue to learn, continue to grow, and always bloom where you’re planted. I would continue to remind my 15-year-old self that you’re going to be okay, and you’re going to do great things. Just bloom where you’re planted.
What do you miss about being on the floor?
In operations, you always have the ability to touch a little bit of everything, right? Being in a corporate role, where I oversee 15,000 employees across 22 different states, I’m a level or two removed from what happens each day.
I think what you always miss is those interactions with your residents. I love getting there early. I love doing all my rounds. I love seeing how my residents are doing and spending that hour giving them devotion in the morning, and being able to share my faith.
There’s no replacing that interaction in that communication that you get from those residents on a day-to-day basis.
What are the particular complexities for managing Covid in an organization of your size?
Having over 300 sites across 22 locations I think was what made things difficult for us, especially early on, when you backtrack to March and April of 2020.
The other challenge that we experienced is mobilizing resources across 22 states and ensuring that everybody has what they need.
I think what we’ve learned is we’ve got to be flexible.
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