Having received their associate’s degrees from Finger Lakes Community College, Shannon McCown and her husband Aidan both knew they wanted careers in health care, so, still in their 20s, they got jobs in Thompson Health’s Environmental Services department. It was a way to get their feet in the door, and nearly 15 years later, it has proven to have been a solid plan.
Shannon started on Environmental Services’ day shift but later switched to the evening shift so she could attend Nazareth College, majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She graduated with her bachelor’s in 2010. Although she’d initially planned to leave Thompson and get her master’s, a promotion to a supervisor position within Environmental Services meant she was making enough money for Aidan to return to school, pursuing his master’s in occupational therapy at Keuka College.
Throughout his program at Keuka, Aidan was able to continue working in Environmental Services, with Thompson providing some tuition reimbursement. Once he graduated and got his license, he transferred to the Rehabilitation Services department within Thompson’s M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center, where he remains six years later on a per diem basis.
“If it wasn’t for the flexibility and support of Thompson, my husband and I wouldn’t have been able to get through our programs,” Shannon said.
During her time in Environmental Services, Shannon had built a rapport with associates in many other departments, plus her bachelor’s degree had given her a foundation of medical knowledge. Transferring out of Environmental Services in late 2014, she joined Thompson’s Credentials and Medical Staff Office as the support assistant. She remained in that position through the spring of 2018 and has now been in Clinical Quality for almost four years, working primarily on the stroke designation program, Joint Commission disease-specific certifications and Joint Commission readiness.
“After I got my degree, I just wanted to use more of the skills I knew I had,” she said. “I just wanted to take any opportunity I could in the health system to advance myself.”
Of her current role, Shannon said, “What I enjoy the most and what enticed me from the beginning was that I can play an active role in process improvement. I enjoy being a part of the work that goes into making Thompson’s best even better.”
Shannon can look around at the people she started with at Thompson years ago and see others who had entry-level positions and grew their careers to the point where they are now in leadership roles.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” she said.