Although she didn’t dream of being a nurse during childhood, Sheila Simpson, NHA, BSN, now knows it is her calling.
Simpson serves as senior director administrator for skilled nursing at St. Catherine’s Village, a retirement community and St. Dominic’s ministry. She has been a St. Catherine’s team member for 33 years. In her current role she ensures appropriate, timely and quality patient care is administered while maintaining a safe and secure environment for the residents.
Path to a Healthcare Career
“At an early age I cared for my grandmother who had rheumatoid arthritis,” Simpson says. “She was hospitalized several times and I was one of her caregivers.” Her mother and father have been the biggest influences on her career.
Simpson attended college without a clear career path in mind. “It was not until several years later and with life circumstances that I decided to pursue a career in nursing.”
Diversity in the workplace is important, especially in healthcare settings like St. Catherine’s.
“Just imagine how boring it would be if everyone was the same. Diversity gives you a sense of uniqueness and is needed for growth,” Simpson says. “Diversity assists us with bonding and learning different things that we probably would never have discovered. Diversity really makes life interesting and exciting.”
Linking the Past to the Future
“Black history represents Black influence around the world, and it teaches the younger generation of challenges as well as accomplishments that have occurred in the lives of people of color,” Simpson says. “Without revisiting history, they may not understand and just might take for granted the privileges they now enjoy. Our ancestors cared and wanted better for future generations.”
Exploring history leads to discoveries about Black Americans’ journeys in a number of professions including scientists, doctors, astronauts, inventors, artists, businessmen and nurses, to name a few. “There was a point in time where Black people were not afforded these opportunities.”
When thinking about Black American thought leaders, two quotes come to mind for Simpson:
“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” —Colin Powell
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” —Maya Angelou
Simpson says the most pressing health equity issues she sees include the cost of insurance and education regarding preventable health issues especially for people of color. Many factors determine a person’s overall health including access to transportation, healthy foods and safe living conditions.
Addressing these and other social determinants of health are a focus for our health system. As a nonprofit, mission-focused Catholic healthcare ministry, we give special attention to those most in need.
Building Beloved Community
This year in recognition of Black History Month, our health system is reflecting on The King Center’s 2023 theme to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work and life: It Starts with Me: Cultivating a Beloved Community Mindset.
Simpson builds community in part through listening.
“I cultivate community by being open-minded and willing to hear what others are saying,” she says. “I get to know a person before giving advice, and most of all by not being judgmental.”
One of Simpson’s favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Our DEI Commitment
Our ministry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion supports culturally competent care education for our team members all year long, including during Black History Month each February.