Caregiver: Adena Health Changed Her Life
On her desk at Adena Family Medicine-Piketon, Victoria Bauer displays a quote from Mother Teresa that includes a phrase near and dear to her: “The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow, but do good anyway.”
The patient access representative says the sentiment serves as a constant reminder of the impact she and her fellow employees at Adena Health have on their patients and on each other. For Victoria, it speaks not just to performing well in the job and having the kind of character that upholds the values the health system embraces, but also to living with integrity and kindness in all interactions with others.
Those values and the organization built around them are at the very core of what Victoria says changed the direction of her life.
The daughter of a father who was disabled and a mother who often worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, Victoria spent the first three years of her life living in a small camper in Pike County before moving into a single-wide trailer purchased for the family by her grandfather. Without much money, she found school challenging, with some educators in her school building providing her with things she needed because she didn’t always have the funds to get them herself.
“When I reached high school, I was walking in the hallway one day and something happened that forever changed my life,” she said. “A group of educators was standing there and I heard them say, ‘We just need to get her to graduate. We know she won’t go far, but at least she’ll have her diploma.’ At that moment, I realized that I wanted to prove them wrong.”
When graduation arrived, however, she was not able to claim her diploma because she had not passed the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT). Rather than just take the GED (General Educational Development) test in lieu of her diploma, Victoria got a job working for a small pizza shop while she studied to retake the OGT, which she passed a year after her formal graduation.
“To most people, that may not seem like a big deal and they’d ask why I didn’t just take the GED,” she said. “But to me, it wasn’t just a piece of paper. That was going to signify who I was for the rest of my life.”
What would further define her life was getting the opportunity to work as a file clerk at what was then Pike Community Hospital prior to the hospital joining the Adena Health family. While it was entry-level work, Victoria said she took pride in saying she worked for a hospital and found fulfillment in that work. She also eventually had the opportunity to get to know Tina Perko, Adena Pike Medical Center director of operations, who became a mentor and powerful influence on her and a close friend before losing her life to cancer at a relatively young age.
“From that moment forward after losing my best friend, I promised myself and I promised her that for the rest of my life, I would make her proud and I would love the community hospital as much as she did,” Victoria said.
She has been happy to live up to that promise, taking pride in what the health system has done for her life and in what she has seen from her colleagues across the organization caring for the residents of Adena Health’s nine-county service area.
“One of the things I’m very passionate about is pride in Adena because it has provided so much for my family,” Victoria said. “It was truly a dream to be able to attend college because I never thought I would have that opportunity, and with the help of Adena Health’s tuition assistance program, I was able to obtain my bachelor’s degree. For that, I am truly thankful, because not every organization does that.”
The Christian foundation upon which Adena Health was built is important to Victoria, as is her personal commitment to her faith that has been encouraged by her church family at Waverly Community Church. It’s that faith in Christ that she feels helps her do what she has been called to do at Adena Family Medicine-Piketon.
She also credits the support of her husband, Andrew, children Maxton and Maci, and her mother and mother-in-law for motivating her daily to strive to be the best version of herself both at home and at work.
Victoria feels fortunate to have seen firsthand the leadership of Adena Health put the best version of themselves on display, most notably in their response to community needs during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when hospital beds were full and frontline workers who were at constant risk of exposure to the coronavirus would contract it and have to quarantine at home. During those dark days, Victoria saw leaders at all levels of the organization rolling up their sleeves to help environmental services team members clean and sterilize equipment and hospital rooms or take their place alongside patient access representatives like Victoria helping patients during their intake process.
It’s those types of things that, despite her humble beginnings and early uncertainty over what she would do with her life, has made Adena Health a special place for her.
“I just feel very fortunate and blessed to be a part of this organization,” she said.
You, too, can become a part of the Adena Health family. Visit adena.org/careers to find information on open positions and how you can apply.