JoAnne Johnson, a CNA/CMA in the Towers Assisted Living and Basic Care at Bethany on University, has been chosen from among more than 1,000 nominees as one of four Caregivers of the Year by the North Dakota Long Term Care Association. She will be honored at the Spring NDLTCA Conference in Bismarck.
JoAnne Johnson was born in Roseau MN to a family that lived 12 miles north, in Sprague Manitoba (so she holds dual citizenship.) She attended Ross L. Gray High School in Sprague before moving to Roseau where she lived for many years.
JoAnne has spent her life caring for others. She began her career at the Roseau Hospital where she worked for more than twenty years. After moving to the Fargo-Moorhead area, she opened a daycare which she operated for ten years. JoAnne was a CNA at Villa Maria before joining the team at Bethany Retirement Living in 2010 as a CNA in the skilled nursing facility. Three years later – in 2013 – she transferred to Bethany Personal Care Services where she is a Med Aide/Towers Resident Assistant and a CNA/CMA in Basic Care.
She always wanted to go into nursing. When she started, she was grandfathered in but moving to Fargo, she couldn’t work as an LPN so she became a CNA.
She is good at the tasks listed in the job description but where JoAnne REALLY excels is in building friendships and trust with those for whom she cares. Joyce Linnerud-Fowler, Bethany’s Senior Executive for Housing and Assisted Living, describes JoAnne as a “yes-girl.” She says yes to everything. Can you take this up to a resident – YES. Can you drive the bus to the mall – YES. Can you help this resident get ready for the day – YES. Can you bring a resident down for lunch – YES. Can you stay a bit past your shift to help out – YES.
According to JoAnne, her work at Bethany “isn’t work.” A caring person to her core, she treats her residents like family and going to care for them is like “going to visit.” That attitude is reflected in the words of her residents: “She always helps with a smile. I am always happy to see her.” “Never says NO and is always willing to help.” “JoAnne has time for people and is always pleasant.” “She is nice to take us out for fun activities. She is very helpful with meds and cares.”
JoAnne has four daughters in the area (two of whom work with her at Bethany) and ten grandchildren.
As a recommendation to young people considering a career like hers, JoAnne says, “Listen to what they (the residents) have to say. They know what they need. And be patient.” Good advice.
Bethany Retirement Living was founded in Fargo in 1939 and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Bethany operates two campuses in Fargo and provides high-quality care to the elderly in skilled nursing, memory care, rehabilitation, transitional care, assisted living, basic care, senior apartments, and personal care programs.