Nurses of Note 2023: The Regional Practice Administrator Celebrates 30 Years in the Field
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PerfectServe’s Nurses of Note awards program honors nurses who deserve recognition for their service, sacrifice, and devotion to their patients and colleagues. For the third year of the Nurses of Note program, PerfectServe is highlighting nurses who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty and whose resilience, creativity, and determination inspire others to do the same.
These honorees are outstanding representatives from the field of nursing, and the stories they share help paint a picture of the difference they make for their patients and communities every single day. Of the 200-plus winners from this year’s program, we’ve selected a handful to engage with more in-depth profiles that will be published throughout the year. These are their stories.
The Regional Practice Administrator Celebrates 30 Years in the Field: Christina Shoaf, MHA, MSN, RN | St Louis, MO
As Regional Practice Administrator, Christina Shoaf, MHA, MSN, RN, oversees 12 practices and 18 locations—all in one specific region—within BJC Medical Group’s scope of care. The practices include Primary Care, Cardiology, Orthopedic, Respiratory Care, Gastroenterology, Endocrinology, Neurology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Behavioral Health. Though her day-to-day role changes based on the needs of the practices she serves, every day involves supporting practice leaders, staff, and providers to ensure patients are given excellent care. This month, Christina is celebrating 30 years with BJC Medical Group!
It may seem obvious now that she’s been in the field for more than three decades, but Christina knew early on that she wanted to be a nurse. As a young girl, her aunt would take her to her dorm when she was in nursing school, which had a lasting impact on Christina. The idea of caring for people who couldn’t care for themselves resonated with her, and she knew then that nursing would be her calling.
“Seeing all the nurses in their bright white uniforms was so exciting,” she said. “Ever since then, I couldn’t wait to be a nurse. As I grew up, I always enjoyed taking care of others. It came naturally to me, and as soon as I could, I began volunteering at the hospital. It solidified my desire to be a nurse.”
As part of her role, Christina assists in the strategic development of BJC practices, along with Christian Hospital, a supporting organization that’s also part of BJC Healthcare. She collaborates closely with partners there to support and continue growing service lines. With more than 600 doctors and specialists at over 100 locations, BJC serves thousands of patients in the greater St. Louis, mid-Missouri, and southern Illinois areas.
But the hats Christina wears don’t stop there! When the pandemic began in 2020, Christina was asked to step up and manage the Covid Clinic at a time when the world thought it would only be a temporary battle. With surges coming and going, the clinic successfully gave close to 13,000 vaccines in the almost eight months Christina was in charge. She was particularly passionate about being part of this initiative, as many patients BJC serves are underserved or have limited access to care.
Due to her amazing work running the clinic, Christina was awarded BJC’s 2020 Manager of the Year award! Christina shared, “Having the opportunity to educate [the community] on Covid and other health conditions that put them at risk if they were to get sick was amazing. I felt like my entire career had led me to this path of outreach. I’m very proud of my work at the Covid Clinic.”
Close to the same time, BJC Medical Group knew there would be a need for specific clinics to care for Covid patients outside of their own primary care providers. The health system opened respiratory clinics to care for these patients, and Christina opened the respiratory clinic in her region! She managed this clinic through the pandemic and still does today, keeping it afloat through several location changes. Christina shared that it’s been a great resource for patients in her region, and she’s enjoyed being able to keep Covid care inside of this clinic rather than sending patients to emergency rooms that were severely taxed throughout the pandemic.
For Christina, celebrating her 30th anniversary with BJC Medical Group is extra special—BJC feels very much like home. Her mother retired from Christian Hospital after 42 years, and her daughter is in her second year of employment at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, also part of BJC. Christina even started her career in 1993 as a patient care technician at Christian Hospital. And best of all, her 30 years of dedication haven’t gone unnoticed: Last year, BJC Christian Hospital President Rick Stevens awarded her with the President’s Award.
“I could never have imagined the experiences and memories I’ve made throughout these 30 years,” Christina said. “I feel honored to be part of the history of this organization and look forward to what the future holds.”
Christina, with 30 years under your belt, we know you’ve spent decades caring for others. That alone makes you a notable nurse, and we’d like to congratulate you on your time with BJC Medical Group. Thanks for all you do for your patients, coworkers, and the many practices you support. We’re honored to call you a 2023 Nurse of Note!
To learn more about Christina’s life and passion for nursing, we asked her a few additional questions to get to know her better.
Why did you choose to become a nurse?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a nurse. My aunt used to take me to her dorm when she was in nursing school when I was younger, and I think that had a big influence on me—seeing all the nurses in their bright white uniforms was so exciting. Since then, I couldn’t wait to be a nurse. As I grew up, I always enjoyed taking care of others. It came naturally to me, and I began volunteering at the hospital as soon as I could. It solidified my desire to be a nurse. I always volunteered to make deliveries to the floor to see the nurses in action. Caring for people who could not care for themselves resonated with me, and I knew it was my calling. I work in a very socio-economically diverse area, where we see uninsured and under-insured patients who lack knowledge of why taking care of their health is essential. I feel honored to be able to advocate for and help educate my patients on their health and how to improve it. It’s my part in changing the health disparities in my community.
What is the biggest lesson you learned while serving as a nurse throughout the pandemic?
The biggest lesson I learned throughout the pandemic was to value our time with our loved ones. At the pandemic’s beginning, I lost several friends and family members to Covid-19. It was a scary time for healthcare workers on the front line, and losing loved ones increased the anxiety of what was to come. Seeing how it isolated people also increased the worry for many. I sat with patients’ families at the ICU when they were not allowed to be with their loved ones as they passed away. It was heartbreaking to see these families separated at this time. It made me think of my family and loved ones and how devastated I would be if I could not say goodbye or did not have them there with me at the end of my life. I promised myself that in the future, I would value the time I have with my loved ones and ensure that they know how important they are to me.
What’s one piece of advice you would give to your younger self about working in the healthcare industry?
I entered the healthcare field as a nursing student in my first year of college. Outside of my volunteering years, it was my introduction to caring for patients directly. If I’m being honest, it was quite scary at first. I was responsible for a team of patients: it was terrifying. The first couple months in my role, I was checking and double-checking every task I did to ensure all the patients were given excellent care and no one needed or wanted anything. It was exhausting, and I began to wonder if I could do this for the rest of my life. My manager pulled me aside one shift to ask how things were going. I told her “great,” but given her decades of experience, she knew better. She talked with me for a long time, and I will never forget how she ended our conversation. She said, “Think of these patients as your family. How would you want your family to be treated?” After that, it became easier to think of it as more than just a job.
What do you do to relax after a stressful day?
My favorite thing to do when I get home from a stressful day is hanging out with my two kids. Sometimes we take a walk in our neighborhood, hang out in the backyard with the dogs, or just veg out on the couch watching “NCIS.” Spending time with them refuels me to help get through the hard days and keeps me grounded.
What changes would you like to see in the nursing field of the future?
I would advocate for changes that would help with the current nursing shortages throughout the field. One of these changes could be increasing open enrollment periods at nursing schools so that nursing students can start throughout the year. Also, assisting with the financial aspect of nursing school. A deterrent for some is the costs associated with nursing school. Perhaps a discount can be offered due to the need for nursing staff or even a tax credit for companies that have educational reimbursement programs for employees who enroll in nursing schools.
If you had to pick one song that describes you as a nurse, what would it be?
I would pick “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson. I love this song because it reinforces never giving up. Although I think it is supposed to be a song about losing love, the premise of standing on your own two feet and that you are stronger than you may think in one moment is universal and resonates with me.
Make sure to follow our blog as we publish profiles about more of our amazing Nurses of Note honorees throughout the year!
For more about Nurses of Note 2023, check out the full list of winners.