“It’s Personal” – The Story of Serenity
There is a reason why when it comes to ‘Serenity’, it’s personal. It starts with the story of Dr. Claudia Warren-Taylor.
Shining in the darkness of this world is a candle illuminating the last days of people who have reached the sunset of their lives. In her world of ‘Serenity,’ Dr. Claudia Warren-Taylor actually brings peace and serenity to the aged. Serenity Gardens Assisted Living accommodates senior citizens, of whom Dr. Warren-Taylor refers to as her ‘patients.’ According to Dr. Warren-Taylor, this is because they receive as much care and therapeutic treatments as patients do.
‘Serenity,’ located in various locations in Maryland, is a home for the aged. Putting herself in the place of the senior citizens and keeping in mind the taste and preferences at their age, Dr. Warren-Taylor has created a homely environment appreciated by the residents. From the house they live in, the color of the curtains, the selection of furniture to the movies they watch, the tea parties organized, and the selection of music, everything is carefully chosen to make the elderly feel comfortable and at home.
What made Dr. Warren-Taylor change her childhood dreams of becoming a lawyer to become a compassionate nurse taking care of elderly people? Her grandparents whom she loved passionately raised her. Her grandmother always told her to be the best. She was Dr. Warren-Taylor’s role model. First her grandfather died due to sub standard treatment. When her grandmother died, her aunt, who was tending to her was sent home and told to collect the body the following day. The attitude towards bereaved members of the family at such a critical time made Dr. Warren-Taylor indignant. Overwhelmed by grief with the departing of their loved ones and then to be treated with such indifference was just not acceptable to Dr. Warren-Taylor. As such, she knew the practice had to change.
Dr. Warren-Taylor began to positively impact lives at the initial stage of her nursing career in New York. Dr. Warren-Taylor went in to work one day and a lady from Poland came to collect the body of her son who was taken to the hospital where Dr. Warren-Taylor worked due to a fatal fall at his workplace. It was obvious this lady was overwhelmed with grief. The staffs on duty were cold and indifferent to her. Recalling the situation of her grandmother’s death, Dr. Warren-Taylor stepped forward, held the mother’s hand and hugged her. She clearly understood the mother’s grief. To this date, that mother cherishes Dr. Warren-Taylor’s spontaneous act of kindness.
Dr. Warren-Taylor was an extraordinary child. She had qualities of leadership from the onset. She grew up with her siblings, cousins, and a number of friends. Although she was not much older than her cousins, she was a ‘mother-figure’ to them. She insisted that they wore slippers and not go barefoot like other children did, comb their hair and not go to neighborhoods that were not clean. They all said she was very strict.
Dr. Warren-Taylor’s long struggle to be where she is today is a combination of her inborn qualities, inspiration (particularly from the grandmother) and above all, perseverance. She worked very hard to complete Nurse Practitioner program and at one point did as many as four jobs. The maximum sleep she was able to get was two hours and if she was lucky sometimes – three. She did a number of private duty cases. Stemming from a business minded family, she made sure she could save as much as possible. She was able to buy her own house at the young age of twenty-three.
Dr. Warren-Taylor got married in New York and is the proud mother of three children. While she was pregnant with one of her children she remembered how she had to dissect bodies while doing her courses in nursing school, which was somewhat blood curdling for her. After her marriage while her children were still young she relocated to Maryland with her family. She did not know anyone in Maryland so she had to make friends all over again and adjust to the new environment.
Throughout her nursing career, Dr. Warren-Taylor found a distinct lack of dedication among nurses. She observed they were not as available when patients needed them. She believed completing administrative tasks was necessary, but according to her, the priority should always be the patients. Dr. Warren-Taylor strongly believes that nursing staff need to ensure that patients are well taken care of – that they get their medicines on time, that staff are readily available when patients need them, that they eat their meals on time and always demonstrate care and compassion.
For Dr. Warren-Taylor, it was personal then, and it is even more personal now. Serenity is the fruit of all her experiences, from childhood to now. It is as a result of this that Dr. Warren-Taylor ensures that she has a dedicated team of workers. The entire team, including her manager, assistant manger, kitchen technicians, medication technicians, the nursing and admin staff, are all handpicked. She personally interviews them. Besides the qualifications and experience necessary, her top foremost requirement is their attitude towards patients. Her team is devoted not only to the institution but also to her, who is undoubtedly a role model and a source of inspiration to them all – because they know when it comes to Serenity, it is personal for her.