Celebrate Caring Honors Barclay Friends DON Laura Smith


May 20, 2020

Laura Smith, Barclay Friends Director of Nursing, was one of 14 Philadelphia-area nurses singled out for recognition during National Nurses Week, May 6–12, by Independence Blue Cross. Those honored in the health insurer’s Celebrate Caring event were chosen from more than 1,100 nominations of nurses in the greater Philadelphia area submitted by coworkers, patients, family, friends and neighbors.

Two of Laura’s coworkers nominated her for helping to save residents and staff during the late-night fire that destroyed Barclay Friends Woolman assisted living building in November 2017.

“Laura was indeed a hero,” says Linda Sterthous, Barclay Friends Executive Director. “She arrived while the building was still on fire to help evacuate residents, and then Laura spent the rest of the night with her team taking care of residents in the shelter, supervising their placement.”

During and after the fire, staff worked quickly to evacuate, assess, support and work with fire and emergency personnel to identify the whereabouts of residents in order to appropriately transfer residents to hospitals, shelters or other long-term care communities.

“Our Celebrate Caring honorees this year include nurses on the front lines of COVID-19. And they include nurses meeting the time-honored challenges of the profession, helping patients at every stage of life,” Independence Blue Cross CEO Daniel Hilferty said in a video thank you.

Laura was one of nine finalists for the top Celebrate Caring honors. Five of the 14 honorees’ stories are posted on the Celebrate Caring web pages and were featured in a full-page ad in the Sunday, May 8, edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.