The Cape Regency Social Services Dir. Who Found Love At Work
March celebrates National Social Work Month. At Athena Health Care Systems, we want to recognize our Social Services Departments and all the work they do, the contributions they make, and the impact they have on our residents and staff. Throughout the month of March, you will meet some of the faces behind the departments across our centers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
CENTERVILLE, M.A. — She says she was meant to work at Cape Regency Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, and the story behind why that is proves true.
Jacqueline Smith joined the Centerville, Massachusetts team four years ago as a social worker. Three years in, she was promoted to Director of Social Services. She says her hands are in just about everything at the center from discharge planning to dealing with missing items to providing support to residents, their loved ones, and staff.
“I grew up right down the street from here. When I was in elementary school and high school, the private school I went to, we would always come here for Christmas and see the residents,” Smith said. “When I was in high school, I was always interested in counseling and also hospitals.”
She attended undergraduate and graduate school in Boston. Smith originally was going to be a nurse, but didn’t like biology. She became a social worker instead. After graduation, her grandfather was admitted to the memory care unit at Cape Regency. While visiting, the staff told her they were looking to fill a social worker position, and she got the job.
A social worker, to her, is someone who is an advocate for others. She recalls one woman who they were able to help find an apartment and fill with donated furniture from the community. Smith describes moments like these as “changing someone’s life.”
Smith says she was often the counselor for friends and family growing up and now works in a profession where she can combine her love for nursing and administrative work.
“I love that every day is different and that I’m ultimately helping people,” she said. “I learn something new every day from the residents here.”
There are important lessons she has collected and saved on her phone from residents over the years. The residents share these sayings with Smith as advice they would have told themselves if they were her age. They include, don’t consume alcohol, “Enjoy each day as it comes,” and not be so self-critical.
Smith said she likes being able to provide comfort for someone and their family, had once been in their shoes.
“I also have the perspective of being a family member here,” she said. “As a family member, for someone to give me comfort and knowing my loved one is safe, that means a lot.”
Also, landing this job four years ago unexpectedly lead her to finding love at Cape Regency. One day, she came across a man who worked for a wheelchair transit company who was bringing in a patient. The two crossed paths in the elevator three times but didn’t speak until he introduced himself on the last trip. Smith called her sister to tell her she met the man she was going to marry. Smith and the elevator man, Quinn, connected on social media where he would later ask her to get coffee. Quinn is a paramedic firefighter at the Barnstable Fire Department. The two got engaged on Christmas.