2019 SCHA Awards
Outstanding Senior Care Professional


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Dan McConnell Dan McConnell

 
Dan McConnell

Position: Physician Assistant

Organization: GeissMed

 

List your nominee's experience in Senior Care.
Dan was born and raised in Fullerton Ca. He graduated from Biola University in 2006. While attending Biola, he participated in a Nigerian medical mission. During that trip, he shared that the Lord placed on his heart to begin a career in the medical field.

After graduating from Biola, he attended Western University of Health Sciences where he graduated with a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies. Following graduation, he practiced orthopedics and pain management for 3 years before meeting Dr. John Geiss of GeissMed. Since 2014, he said he has had the privilege of serving the senior community of Southern California with GeissMed. Dan told us, “I love working for the GeissMed team serving seniors daily with the healthcare they deserve.”


Describe how your Nominee has exceeded his or her Job Description, becoming a hero to you or others. Provide an example or as much detail as possible of the things that they do that go above and beyond their job description.

Dan had the opportunity to serve a particular patient – let’s call him “Joe” - that really stayed in his heart. He shared this story:

“I traveled to a board and care in Tustin to treat a patient that was new to me but not to our practice. This patient was nearly non-verbal and had a blank stare the majority of the time. The wife was there and she was ever so faithful in caring for her husband who was in his early 70’s - quite young in comparison to the rest of the population we serve. I could tell it was a hard road to this point for the wife. Her devotion to him was palpable and she longed to have what was now a shell of her husband be well taken care of; she needed to know he was comfortable, and at peace.

My conversation with her started and she became emotional quickly when I asked questions about her husband. I decided to start asking questions directly of Joe. My first couple questions were met with no response – not a sound, just a blank stare. But, I knew I had to keep trying – his wife looked so sad. So I asked her what Joe what he did for a living, and found out he was a military man and after that career, a probation officer. I began to see Joe perk up in his seat a bit - behind the glasses I saw in Joe’s eyes that he was present in that room with his wife and I for the first time. I posed more questions to Joe as I recognized he showed up and wanted to contribute to the conversation. I asked him his date of birth, how tall he was, his weight, what branch of the military was he in, what was it like being a probation officer, if he liked it here at his new home, and the questions kept coming. He told me accurately his date of birth (which shocked his wife). The rest of the questions weren’t answered as accurately but for the first time in a long while, the shell of the man his wife knew him to be was filled with the man she used to know. The room was filled with tears – good ones - including my own. It was a beautiful thing. I was able to treat Joe then, and upon leaving the board and care, he gave me a great firm handshake and his wife gave me the best hug.

I knew that Joe was still in there, sometimes it just takes the right key to get a person with dementia to show up – if only for a moment. I wanted that so badly for his wife AND him, so I took the time to coax him out. This is a rewarding line of work I’m in and far beyond treating diseases. That was just a taste of what I get to experience in a given week. Not many get to wake up in the morning and look forward to what’s ahead; for me, it’s not work...it’s a passion.”