Salute to Nurses: Dana Shomo
Date: May 15, 2023
Categories: Health Focused
Nurses nationwide have increasing demands placed on them. As a result, they are asked to do more with less, making it challenging to provide the high level of care patients need and deserve. In addition, the nursing shortage is a significant challenge; there aren’t enough nurses to meet the growing demand, which leads to burnout and compassion fatigue.
It is a pleasure to take this opportunity to pay tribute to these courageous individuals for their selflessness and for going above and beyond. We thank all the nurses out there for what they do, day in and day out. We appreciate you and are eternally grateful. Join us as we take a brief glimpse into the person behind the mask and what inspired them to be a nurse.
Dana Shomo was 18 when she started working at Augusta Health as a clerk in the Emergency Department. She knew she wanted to be a nurse; it had always interested her. “It encompasses all the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) components while also embracing the human aspect of care,” says Shomo. She became a nurse in the Emergency Department after receiving her associate degree in nursing from Virginia Western Community College. Then she returned for her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Eastern Mennonite University. Eight years were spent in the Augusta Health Emergency Department when Shomo and her husband decided to travel around the United States and perform Emergency Nursing in multiple states and hospitals. Both as a nurse in the Emergency Department and as a traveler, Shomo learned to adapt and became a fast learner. She consistently sought learning opportunities and happily returned to Augusta Heath in 2018 to be a nurse in Post-Anesthesia Care (PACU)/Outpatient Surgery (OPS). She later transitioned to a leadership role in 2021. “When we were done traveling, we knew we wanted to return home to Augusta County,” explains Shomo. “Being from a small community within Augusta County, traveling to many hospitals across the United States, Augusta Health was where I wanted to return to work and continue serving the community I was raised in.”
Shomo is naturally passionate; she gives 100% in every aspect of life. “There is no other way,” says Shomo. At Augusta Health, she is known for her love of orienting new employees and students, which translates to her wanting them to stay at Augusta Health. She plays a significant role in keeping nurses happy by improving unit productivity, morale, and patient experience. She enjoys celebrating birthdays, holidays, and special events. Her units have fun in the workplace, including Easter Egg hunts and cookie bake exchanges.
Shomo can pull a team together, motivate them, and inspire them to be great. To do this, Shomo does her homework. Before each new employee starts, she has them fill out a ‘staff favorites’ form so she can identify their favorite things. Then, when the team member comes to new employee orientation, she greets them, takes them a goodie bag of their favorite items, and welcomes them to the team. Shomo always holds herself and her team to high-performance standards for patient-centered care. She does this by continuously checking in with her team, working alongside them on the unit, giving handwritten letters to show her appreciation, promoting their performances, and often surprising them with coffee and special treats.
As a leader and a mentor, Shomo is valued and is a resource for many at Augusta Health. So much so that on March 28, Shomo was surprised by our CEO and President, Mary N. Mannix, along with other colleagues, as she was awarded a 2023 Augusta Health Leadership of Excellence Award. Other leaders seek her out for her enthusiasm, innovative problem-solving, and patient/community-centeredness. She leads from her heart; she is compassionate and cares for others personally and professionally to foster growth and trust. Shomo takes on new challenges, even if it means coming in early or staying late. She recently completed the Virginia Nurses Associate leadership training and was instrumental during the Pathway to Excellence journey and survey. When asked what values are essential to her as a leader, Shomo shares, “being respectful, communicating, being honest, dedicated, held accountable, and compassionate.”
Nursing is becoming an ever-diverse profession. The future options are limitless. But nursing is a demanding field, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Nursing encompasses a variety of situations ranging from life and death, tragic and beautiful, sad and happy, which can be daunting day in and day out. “Having the resiliency to go back each day and continue to care for others takes resiliency and tenacity,” says Shomo. On her days off, Shomo loves spending time with her family. She also enjoys baking and sharing those goodies with others.
Shomo and her team go above and beyond to provide their patients with the best experience and care. As a mentor, she says, “Each day, you will learn from others and teach others. Share your love, kindness, and the unique gifts you have with everyone you meet. Always stay true to who you are and what you believe in. If your gut is telling you it doesn’t seem right, it’s probably not. You should ALWAYS listen and ALWAYS advocate for your patient. Treat each patient as your mother, father, brother, sister, or loved one because they are someone’s loved one. You will never know your impact but know in your heart that you make a difference in someone’s life daily.”
Dana Shomo, RN, BSN
Nurse Manager Outpatient Surgery/Post-Anesthesia Care Unit