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The mission of the Division of Senior and Adult Services is to empower seniors and adults with disabilities to age successfully by providing resources and support that preserve their independence.

You are here: Home > National Nurses Month

National Nurses Month


May 2020

Our Nurses Make a Difference Every Day

We can’t think of a professional group that’s more deserving of a salute right now than our Nurses.  They’re the backbone of our efforts throughout the year, but the vital role they play is magnified right now. 

The Division of Senior and Adult Services (DSAS) employs a team of 11 skilled, dedicated Nurses.  In 2019, our Nurses supervised over 40,000 hours of home health care for 542 older adult and adult with disability clients in our Home Support program.  In addition, our new Behavioral Health Nurse conducted nearly 150 screenings to ensure clients’ needs were properly identified and appropriate services were accessed.  This year, our Nursing team also rose to the challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic, by providing over 5,000 COVID-19 screenings to date for essential staff in our buildings. 

To honor our amazing Nurses this month, we are highlighting members of our team.  Enjoy learning more about them through their profiles below.  Throughout National Nurses Month, let’s take time to #thankanurse for the amazing work they do.  If you would like to recognize one of our nurses (or our entire team) with a special message of thanks, please email us a message to share!


David Smith Jr., BA, RN
Director of Nursing, DSAS Home Support Services Unit

David Smith, Jr. has been DSAS’ Director of Nursing since 2018.  Having been a Nurse for over a decade, his experience spans a variety of specialties including Medical-Surgical/Telemetry, Acute and Chronic Dialysis, Critical and Emergency Care, Long-Term/Skilled Care, and Nursing Administration.

After a satisfying first career as an educator, David decided to pursue his interest in healthcare. “I am fascinated by medical science and have always had an interest in healthcare.  Nursing seemed to be the logical path at the time,” he says.  He began with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and then obtained an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing.  Today, he is pursuing a Master of Science in Nursing, with a concentration on Nursing Education.

David recalls one particular patient that deeply impacted him.  This young pediatric patient was very ill and tired of being in the hospital.  After several weeks of testing and treatments, he had given up.  “At that time, he became my patient.  Although he was dejected, he and I developed a friendship,” David recounts. “With gentle persistence, I was able to get him to turn the corner on his illness.  Sometime later, I ran into him and his family outside of the hospital, and I was amazed to see his recovery.  His family felt that I was the right Nurse at the right time. That young man makes me proud to be a Nurse.”

Nursing can be stressful, and one of David’s favorite places to decompress is in the kitchen.  “I grew up with a grandfather who was a retired chef. Watching him cook taught me the power of healthy, yet tasteful food.  Food can be nutritious, aesthetically pleasing and a delight to the senses,” he explains.  “After a challenging day at work, being in the kitchen allows me to channel my energy in a positive manner, forces me to eat healthy, and fuels my creative culinary experiments.”

David feels that Nursing will be a lifelong profession for him, and he looks to a 90-year old woman at his church as his inspiration. “She just recently retired from her work as a Nurse, after more than 60 years of caring for and teaching others,” he explains.  “I am amazed at the passion she still has for this profession. Her experience and knowledge encourage me in my desire to engage in this profession for the rest of my life.  She is a living witness to the impact Nurses and the field of Nursing can have on one’s life.”

David is certain that choosing to become a Nurse was the best career decision he ever made.  “Not only do I get to help others, but it is satisfying, gratifying, and humbling to be able to journey with others during a time of illness,” he confirms.  “I remain a nurse because at the end of the day I am able to make a difference in the lives of my patients.”



Joan Vanderground, RN, MSN, CNS

Joan VandergroundFor over three decades, Joan Vanderground has enjoyed serving others as a Nurse. Her multiple degrees in Behavioral Sciences, Nursing and Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing have given her the ability to work successfully with patients of all ages. She began her career at Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital, and then went on to work at the Cuyahoga County Youth Development Center, where she spent over two decades as the Nursing Supervisor for their health center. For the past 11 years, she’s been assisting older adults and adults with disabilities at the County’s Division of Senior and Adult Services. 

“I am a nurse because I like to help people,” Joan says. “I am also intrigued by the versatility of the field and the many diverse opportunities.”

As a breast cancer survivor, well-being is important to Joan. She is currently involved in a national breast cancer study, BWEL, being conducted by the National Institute of Health and the National Cancer Institute. The study is focusing on weight loss and activity to prevent recurrence of breast cancer. “My main goal as a part of this program is to remain healthy and live long enough to watch my grandchildren grow up,” Joan explains.

When asked about a special Nurse that has made an impact on her, Joan says that honor would have to go to her mom, Elizabeth Hegedus. She was a trained Nurse in the Canadian hospital system. Elizabeth and Joan’s father met in Newfoundland, Canada, where he was stationed with the U. S. Air Force during the Korean War. She eventually became a naturalized U.S. citizen and worked at many interesting nursing positions here in the U. S., inspiring Joan to follow in her footsteps.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with some pretty awesome nurses over the years and have learned a great deal from each of them,” Joan recounts. They are a few of her heroes, along with the legendary Florence Nightingale. “I could write a book on all of her achievements. She is known for pioneering modern nursing and is a fantastic role model for any young person thinking about a career in Nursing.”

Yania N. Turney BSN, RN

Yania N. Turney BSN, RN

Yania Turney, BSN, RN has been in nursing for 12 years.  She has held several positions at the Cleveland Clinic, serving in the G81 Medical Surgical Unit; the Stepdown Unit; the Ear, Nose and Throat Department; and the Rescue Unit.  She has also worked in the areas of Psychiatry, At-Risk Youth, Chemical Dependency, Acute Care, Forensic Mental Health and School Nursing.  At the County, she has served as a Nurse Supervisor in both the Corrections Department and the Division of Senior and Adult Services.

Yania likes being a nurse because she is extroverted by nature. “I genuinely love people. I love to study the mind. I love the pathophysiology of how medications work throughout the body to treat various diseases and conditions.”

 She is fascinated with medical conditions and disease processes, and enjoys following the journey of recovery in those with illness. When the pressures of nursing begin to take their toll, Yania maintains her mental well-being by talking through things with her family and best friend.  “I also think it’s important to relax in order to regain peace of mind. One of my favorite ways to do that is by closing my eyes and practicing deep breathing.”

Yania draws encouragement from those around her and admires colleagues who have overcome adversity on their path to becoming Nurses.  “Being a Nurse is a hard, rewarding, stressful and at times thankless job,” she notes. “Any Nurse that puts their heart into the work they do while maintaining other important aspects of their lives is a hero to me. As a mother of four, Yania was drawn to becoming a mentor, which has allowed her to be an inspiration to countless youth.  “My passion is at-risk youth, young women and children,” she explains.  “A mentor is someone that youth can confide in. Guiding them, teaching them, being consistent, and being firm is how I’ve learned to reach young people, especially after having my own children.  I have experienced so many breakthroughs with the people I’ve served.There are so many moving parts to being a successful Nurse,” Yania concludes.  “Although it is challenging, it is what I love to do"