Updated: 18 hours ago
COVID-19 has caused organizations all around the world to adapt to new normals, but the Visiting Nurse Association of Greater St. Louis (VNA) has always been willing to embrace change, something Director of Vaccination & Wellness Services, Director of HR and Director of the Visit-A-Bit Program Tonya Stacy has consistently appreciated about the organization.
“It’s been quite a few years since I started here,” says Tonya. “But the ability of VNA to adapt to its environment has allowed us to adjust to the needs of the medical community and do what’s needed to thrive.”
Tonya grew up on the “other side of the river” 30 minutes outside of St. Louis. She studied business administration with a specialization in human resources, which set her on her journey to become Director of HR for VNA after working in such diverse settings as a veterinary clinic and a toy company.
She eventually heard about VNA through an employment ad and was excited by the prospect of working for a smaller organization, one where she was given the opportunity to meet and interview with the CEO from the start. She was hired as Director of HR, and she quickly fell in love with the environment, and she enjoyed working with the team.
Tonya would later add the role of Director of Vaccination & Wellness Services to her responsibilities, a position that she seamlessly transitioned into as she had already been a part of the management team and involved in all the areas of VNA. This role gave her a solid working knowledge of the program, and her business background helped her keep track of the program finances. In addition to understanding the business side of the program, she has learned a great deal about the clinical side, though she emphasizes that she could never give the shots herself.
“The fact that I get to interact with a variety of people is my favorite part of the job,” says Tonya. “That, and I get to do a variety of tasks. I feel like I am able to problem solve. The management team and strategic partners plan the path that VNA is going to take to overcome obstacles.”
This path has evolved since Tonya first came on board with VNA as she’s seen the organization refine their mission and learn to focus on vulnerable populations most in need of their services. “For our last three-year strategic plan, the focus was really on seniors, even though we do serve some outside of that with the vaccination programs. Our mission before was that we coordinated a continuum of care, which is very broad, but the last strategic plan focused the mission on providing services to the geriatric population, which is much more focused.”
Not only have there been missional shifts since Tonya started at VNA, but COVID-19 has caused many shifts in recent months to ensure that both patients and staff are kept safe. For the vaccination program specifically, VNA has implemented new ways to get vaccines to the community while adhering to CDC guidelines and patient and client comfort levels.
“We had companies that closed due to COVID or weren’t in the office but still wanted to give out vaccines. We really adapted however we could, whatever was required to make it work,” says Tonya. “For example, we normally do thousands of shots for Edward Jones employees, but they weren’t in the office. Instead, we did a drive-through clinic at each of their locations and extended it to families.”
After 17 years at VNA, Tonya is as motivated as ever by VNA’s mission and energized by the way VNA embraces change. “VNA has a well-respected name in the healthcare community,” says Tonya. “As a nonprofit organization, I feel it really cares about its staff and its patients, and it’s an extremely ethical company. We have great leadership, are mission-driven and focus on patients and employees.”
For more information about our flu vaccination program or to read other VNA team profiles, visit our blog.