Christiana Oyeniji, the social services director at Bardmoor Oaks Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Largo, FL, has dedicated her professional life to helping others. She studied social services in college and worked as a child welfare case manager for many years. She loved working with the children, but in 2012, she took a job as a social worker in a health care center, and found her calling to work with the elderly. “I found my passion. I am an advocate for my residents. If it benefits the residents, I will do it.” She told us that she is “motivated by the opportunity to help someone, make a difference, make things better than before.”

Oyeniji has worked for Consulate Health Care for three years, and has been at Bardmoor Oaks since March 2019. At Bardmoor Oaks, she loves working with the “team of hardworking nurses and CNAs and she is inspired by both the staff and residents.” She said that the unit managers have really made an impact on her. She joked that the unit manager for rehabilitation “Is always there. She must sleep there. The only way I know that she went home is that the color of her scrubs changes each day. Does she keep the fresh scrubs in her car?” Oyeniji said that she loves working for Consulate, and hopes that she will continue to work with elderly patients for a long time to come.

"If it benefits the residents, I will do it.”

Finding a work/life balance is always a challenge for Oyeniji. Even at home on her days off, she finds herself thinking about patients, family members, vendors, and staff. Her compassion directs her behavior at all times. She gave an example of her compassion when interacting  with staff, and also when she is helping to come to a solution with a family member. She encourages everyone to be more patient with each other, and create an environment “where it’s okay not to be okay.” She said it is important to “understand how people are feeling on a particular day, and allow them to be who they are.”

In her free time, Oyeniji loves to travel. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has put a damper on the travelling, but she looks forward to resuming her adventures. She has family and friends in Canada, England, Italy, and Nigeria, and loves to absorb new cultures through food and outdoor activities. Meanwhile, at home, Oyeniji said that the pandemic has brought out the best in people. Her co-workers have become her family, and she has developed lifelong friendships with her teammates.

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