On this page we feature some of our exceptional healthcare professionals who inspire us through their selfless deeds. Each story is snap shot of the many acts of kindness, sacrifice, and dedication to craft that you can expect to find in each and every Supplemental Health Care healthcare professional.
Each spring, Buffalo Business First newspaper hosts an Excellence in Health Care Awards event to recognize individuals in Western New York whose work has improved the local health care system in hospitals, labs, clinics, nonprofits, and health facilities. Supplemental Health Care is proud to announce that Content Adams, RN School Supervisor for Buffalo Public Schools was recognized at this year’s event on March 28th, at the Buffalo Hyatt Regency.
Supplemental Health Care was contracted with Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) in 2018 to oversee school nursing services in the over 60 schools within the Buffalo Public School system. Content Adams, one of three RN supervisors for BPS, was nominated for this recognition by Assistant Market Manager, Joanna Almeter. Content’s recognition is well-earned as she has worked tirelessly to develop and enhance the BPS nursing program while providing educational training for the staff nurses and assisting them enhance their pediatric nursing skills as they provide for the neediest students in the district.
Everyone has a different path that leads them to choose a career, and in many cases, it takes a little longer to get there. This was the case with Supplemental Health Care’s August Care More Spotlight winner, Kristen F., SLP-CCC. She had earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education, but instead of pursuing a teaching career, she chose to focus on caring for her children as a stay-at-home mom. Over the years, her circumstances changed, and she knew it was time to re-enter the workforce, but she wanted to find something that would still allow her the time and flexibility for her children. One day, a conversation with a fellow pre-school mom gave her the idea that would lead her to a career as a Speech-Language Pathologist.
“We were talking one day, and she knew that I had an undergrad in elementary education,” Kristen explained recently. “She had just graduated from a great online program and suggested I look into pursuing an SLP career.”
Within a month of that simple conversation, Kristen began the classes that would change both her life and the lives of students at Summit Academy in Ohio. She is going into her fifth year working in the school district as a Speech-Language Pathologist, and she couldn’t be happier with the direction her career has taken.
“I have worked exclusively in this school setting for children with Autism and ADD, and I love making a difference in a child’s life. Seeing their face light up when it all “clicks” is especially rewarding and reassures me that I made the right career decision.”
In a short time, Kristen has become a trusted leader within the school’s Special Education department. She is known for developing concise IEP plans, being a great teammate, and helps set the example for her peers on setting goals and executing plans with an efficiency that shows up in each students’ learning and growth progress.
One example of her ability to help her students achieve life-changing successes is her work with a young student suffering from Apraxia. For weeks, before the Christmas Holiday season, the student was struggling to say the word ‘Santa,’ and it meant a lot to him. Throughout the school day, Kristen would make a point of popping into his class at random times to ask him “who brings the presents on Christmas?” just to give him the extra prompting and practice he needed. Finally, a week before the holiday break from school, the young boy was saying it on his own with no modeling and prompting. Every time he said the word ‘Santa,’ his face would break into a wide smile and he beamed with pride.
“One of the reasons I really enjoy working for Supplemental Health Care is the people. Everyone helps me work through any important challenges or issues that come up regarding my family, and they have even reached out during those times to make sure my children are doing okay. When your employer cares like that, it makes you feel valued.”
For the past seven years, James, a Licensed Vocational Nurse, has been following his dreams of being a care provider. In the years he has been employed as an LVN, James has worked in a multitude of care settings, including Long Term Care, Long Term Acute Care, Psychiatric Hospitals, Emergency Rooms, and in Med/Surg units.
“Health Care has always been my passion,” he explains. “I knew that my dreams of helping people get well would turn into a career that I love.”
As you might expect for someone who enjoys his career as much as James, it is routine for Supplemental Health Care to receive glowing feedback about him from the clients he is working with. James receives compliments wherever he works, and even clients who rarely allow overtime will make an exception and offer it to James because he is so integral to their staff. He has proven to be an extremely hard worker and willingly takes on all assignments throughout Texas and Louisiana.
“James is an exceptional LVN and consistently exceeds the expectations of every client,” claims Helen Royston, Staffing Manager, Supplemental Health Care. “He always has a positive attitude and easily adapts to the changing needs of our clients. He is very caring and goes above and beyond for everyone, including our clients and his patients.”
While on a recent assignment at a Correctional Facility, a 19-year old patient came into the Emergency Clinic complaining that he was having trouble breathing. James overheard him speaking with the triage nurse who had past experience with this particular patient. He heard her tell him he was fine and should return to his cell and rest. James noticed that the patient’s demeanor was off and quickly intervened when the young man began exhibiting signs of irritation. James introduced himself to the patient and offered to listen to his lungs just to be sure nothing was wrong. Upon examination, James found that the patient had no air movement in his left chest and was suffering from a collapsed lung. After the patient was transported to the local hospital, the triage nurse began apologizing to James for not giving the patient the benefit of the doubt. In typical fashion, James replied, “There is no need to apologize. We work as a team, and sometimes it takes two to get the job done.”
“What keeps me going is the love I have for my career,” James said in talking about his Care More Spotlight nomination. “It is an amazing feeling to be able to help people on a daily basis. I can’t think of a better way to help others than to be right by their bedside, giving them direct care.”
As is so often the case, the road to becoming a nurse often takes a lot of twists and turns, but the end always seems to be predestined. For Arlene, her journey was longer than most but her experiences along the way contributed to her being the amazing nurse that she is today. Right out of high school, Arlene became a nurse’s aide and was then certified as a medication aide, passing medicine in a long term care facility. She then began working in a hospital, transporting patients to the operating room and was trained as a scrub tech.
When her son was born, Arlene stayed home for a few years and ultimately began working as a medical transcriptionist from home. After a few years, she heard about a camp for kids with cancer and signed up as a one-on-one volunteer to a five-year-old boy named Andy. That week at camp changed Arlene’s life and exposed her true destiny in healthcare. After that week in camp, she enrolled in college and four years later, Arlene, now a grandmother, graduated with her BSN from the University of Kansas!
Arlene has been an RN in the Operating Room for ten years now and has earned her certification as a Perioperative Nurse. She has worked in a variety of OR settings from smaller ambulatory surgery to level one trauma centers with 30 or more OR suites.
“I love the OR,” she explains. “I enjoy focusing all of my attention on my one patient at a time. I always take the time to connect with the families and assure them that I will be caring for their loved one and will keep them updated throughout the process.”
Arlene goes above and beyond for her patients and makes the most of the short time she has with them before they are put under anesthesia. She reassures them that she will be by their side throughout the surgery. Then, as the anesthesia begins, Arlene always holds their hand, and as they are drifting off to sleep, she whispers in their ear, “We are going to take excellent care of you.”
Sarah has been a Registered Nurse for the past 16 years, having worked in different settings across the spectrum of care. When asked recently about why she chose healthcare as a profession, she jokingly responded, “because everyone was doing it!” Then, in seriousness, she replied, “I wanted to help people and provide them with some comfort during a difficult situation.”
Based on her performance, even if everyone had chosen healthcare as a career, few would be able to provide the quality of care that she has over the years. Her skills and compassion were never more evident than recently when she received The Daisy Award after being nominated by one of her patients. The Daisy Award is an honor bestowed upon exceptional nurses around the country in recognition of clinical excellence, compassionate care, and patient-centered service.
In the nominating letter, Sarah’s patient wrote, “I would like to express my sincerest gratitude towards Sarah for taking the time to explain everything and for spending quality time with me. She is clearly very passionate and honest, and you can tell she has her heart in her career. She was always very professional and super respectful, and she always smiled as she took great care of me. She is one amazing nurse and should be recognized!”
It is not surprising that Sarah makes such an impact on her patients, as she truly loves the work that she is doing. “I love to bring a smile and sense of peace to my patients. Easing their anxiety while they are going through a challenging time can be quite uplifting and fulfilling. It brings me a sense of perspective and purpose.”
If you were ever to ask Luxley D., RN why he chose a career in healthcare, he would probably tell you that it’s the family business. Luxley, an RN since 2003, joins an uncle, his aunts, and his sisters who have all chosen a career in health care. This month, Luxley is being recognized as March’s Care More Spotlight Winner for Supplemental Health Care.
Luxley approaches his work every day as a new opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life. Like the time he found out about a family whose main provider was about to be hospitalized, and they were worried about where their next meal was going to come from. Luxley reached out to the administrators of the hospital he was working at and secured funds from the Bon Secours Foundation ensuring that the family would have money to live on while their loved one was recuperating in the hospital.
Luxley works in the Emergency Department at Nash UNC Health Care and recently earned the honor of being named a Carolina Care Champion based on feedback from both his patients and colleagues at the hospital. For his patients, Luxley continually demonstrates compassionate care and is always ready to lend a helping hand to his colleagues. From holding a patient’s hand and alleviating their concerns and fears, to taking the newest med school graduates under his wing and giving them the confidence to get the job done, Luxley is always there for everyone he meets.
While others may see it as going above and beyond the call of duty, Luxley will say that he is just doing his best to make people feel good about themselves. He makes it a point to never walk by a room if someone needs something, a colleague or a patient. If he sees a co-worker in need of assistance, he jumps right in with a helping hand and will even take care of their other patients until they are caught up.
Hearing about all of the instances leading Luxley to earn such widespread recognition, it is clear to see why he chose a career in nursing. Caring for others is in his DNA!
Congratulations Luxley, and thank you for embodying the Care More spirit!
By the time he was in high school, Brandon Buckendorf SLP-CCC was already helping his father at his private speech therapy practice. Like many children, he dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps and build a career helping others to speak and communicate. Dr. Bob Buckendorf had carved out a very successful career in both private practice and later as the Director of Speech Pathology at Oregon Health & Sciences University.
Brandon began his SLP career in Oregon, completing his clinical fellowship at OHSU in an elite program called LEND (Leadership and Education in Neuro-developmental and related Disorders). The specialized training afforded him high quality and intensive training in many low incidence populations, like cleft palate, Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnostics, and feeding/swallowing. It was during that time that Brandon’s father related a desire to return to private practice and get back to helping children. Eventually, Brandon, his father, and Brandon’s wife (Also an SLP) opened up a private practice, Buckendorf Associates, LLC, which included Brandon’s mother as the office manager! Their practice was truly a family affair. Brandon credits the eight years of being mentored directly by his father as one of the most impactful periods of his career to date.
In July of 2016, Brandon came to work at Supplemental Health Care in search of a supervisory position. His desire was to be in a position to train and mentor the next generation of SLP’s and other health care professionals. He has much wisdom and experience to impart on young clinicians, he knows that he can have a positive impact on their careers the way his father had on his own. He is currently working as an SLP supervisor in a large school district that has 11 clinicians supporting the students. He has been invaluable to the district and played an integral leadership role during an administration change that could have impacted the Special Education Department, if not for Brandon’s contributions.
While Brandon is in more of an oversight role, he is still utilizing his skills and experiences to ensure that the clinicians feel supported and are utilizing him as a resource when they need assistance. One case, recently, involved a young man who had a severe lateral lisp, a very challenging disorder to treat. In conversations with the SLPA who was treating the student, Brandon sensed that she was having a difficult time.
“Usually, all a younger clinician needs is someone who has been down that road they are on,” he explained. “Someone with compassion to come beside them and empower them with knowledge and experience to have confidence in their clinical skills.”
Over a period of several weeks, Brandon worked with her and modeled therapy techniques for the student. Soon, she felt comfortable enough to provide the therapy solo.
Soon thereafter, Brandon received a call from his very excited SLPA who exclaimed, “He’s making progress!” The excitement in her voice was only matched by the hint of surprise at making progress so quickly. Brandon shared in her excitement, but not the surprise.
“When clinicians are supported in the way that they need to be, the progress patients/students with communication disorders make is exceptional!”
At a young age, Myra witnessed first-hand the incredible impact a healthcare professional can have on a family. She watched as several family members received medical care in a variety of settings and her interest was piqued for life. While Myra was in high school, she prepared for her healthcare career by taking as many “Health Care Occupation” courses as she could, and within two years of her graduation, she entered the nursing workforce as a Nursing Assistant.
Myra spent nine years as a nursing assistant and along the way picked up courses to achieve her ultimate goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. All told, Myra has been in the healthcare profession for 25 years, the past 16 years as an RN.
“I have experience working in a variety of clinical settings,” she explains. “I’ve worked in mental health, prisons, long term care facilities, trauma centers, and community hospitals.”
Her skills, coupled with her innate desire to provide the best quality of care contributes to Myra being recognized for her contributions to quality standards. A recent incident at Vidant Medical Center (VMC) highlights Myra’s alertness, and her attention to detail prevented a potential medication error. Myra noticed a discrepancy between the label on medication that was brought in by a Transplant-Trauma Surgical Intermediate Unit patient and what the patient was verbally reporting to the staff. She alerted the attending physician, and it was discovered that the patient’s Neurologist had recently changed the dose frequency, although it hadn’t yet been updated in the medical history. Myra’s actions helped avoid a prescribing error, and she was subsequently recognized in the VMC Quality Indicator Tracking Report!
Myra is dedicated to her profession and knows how little things can go a long way toward making a patient’s stay at the hospital more pleasant for all involved. One of Myra’s patients was a high schooler who was going to be unable to attend their graduation. Upon learning of this, Myra worked behind the scenes to organize a special party for the student. While out of the room at physical therapy, Myra coordinated efforts to decorate the room and had the student’s friends and family waiting for a makeshift graduation party upon their return from therapy. That is a shining example of Supplemental Health Care’s “Care More” attitude and spirit!
As Myra explains it, she was just doing what comes naturally, “I love my job. Just seeing the patient make progress and have positive outcomes, and knowing that I played a role in their healing process is what it is all about for me.”
Registered Nurse Dian H. knew from an early age that she would live a life of service. In high school, she was drawn to the field of healthcare and spent time working as a Certified Nurse Assistant. Later, after serving our country in the Marine Corps, Dian had a second career as a Paramedic. It was then that she realized it was time to get back to nursing.
“I finally realized that I wanted more,” she explains. “I was raising my daughter as a single mom, so I moved to Colorado and began working as a CNA again. I went back to school full time to pursue a nursing career. Nursing is in me, and I am very proud of my profession.”
An example of Dian caring more and making a profound impact on a patient came recently in the form of a letter from a patient. After total hip replacement surgery, a patient was under Dian’s care in the TCU. She wrote about how compassionate and caring Dian was to her and her family over the three days she was in Transitional Care. Dian made sure that her patient’s family members felt reassured and were comfortable enough to be able to return home for much-needed rest knowing that Dian was taking care of things at the hospital.
To hear it from Dian, she was simply doing her job the only way she knows how. Her philosophy about nursing carries through for every patient under her care.
“I always keep in mind that I am there to care for people, after all, they are someone. They are also someone’s someone. A mother, or maybe a father, husband, wife, brother, sister, or child! I keep that in the forefront of my mind when caring for these patients, and always putting in the effort as if they were MY someone. By having that mentality, I know that when someone is having the worst day of their life, I am going to be at my very best.”
As a mother of seven children, Judy P. was probably qualified to be a registered nurse without ever having to step foot into a classroom. But, after her 7th child was heading off to college, that is exactly what Judy did. She went back to school to chase her lifelong dream of becoming a nurse. That was sixteen years ago, and since then, Judy has proven to be an excellent caregiver. Judy has been with Supplemental Health Care since January of 2016 and has worked in Med/Surg, Oncology, Neurology, PACU, and ICU during her nursing career.
An example of how Judy is able to make a difference in the lives of her patients can be demonstrated by this text she received from a family member of one of her patients.
“Judy, I am pretty sure tomorrow we are going to say goodbye to our daddy…I just wanted you to know. I also want you to know that you became part of our family, and we know you did everything you could for him…the way you cared for him means so much to me. Your contribution to his life matters! And you will be included in his eulogy because of your genuine care and concern for not just my father, but for his children… You are truly an angel for the work you do!”
As she is with every endeavor in her life, Judy is passionate about her nursing career and grateful that she has an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those she is caring for. She sums it all up with her typical words of wisdom.
“If you can stand at the door where souls enter this world and souls exit ~ you are one privileged individual!”
Registered Nurse, Michelle C., of our Fort Worth Nursing Division, has been caring more With Supplemental Health Care since January 2017. Like many nurses, Michelle didn’t just decide to become a nurse, she was called to the profession through her life experiences. After giving birth to her daughter, Michelle was struck by how amazing her Labor & Delivery nurses were during that time. However, what was originally thought to have been a perfect birth experience, took a turn a few days later. On her third day home from the hospital, Michelle received a call from staff at the hospital to inform her that her daughter was afflicted with Sickle Cell Anemia.
Michelle has been an RN for more than 2½ years, working in hospitals in the Emergency Department. Her passion for making a positive impact on her patients is evident in everything she does. “I love solving the mystery of what is causing my patient’s pain,” she says. “What is the pathophysiology of what is going on and how everything is connected?”
While working in the ER, Michelle has not had an opportunity to care for many cancer patients, but it was there that she found out just how many people are affected by cancer every day. It happened when a newly diagnosed stage 4 breast cancer patient came to the ER. Michelle cared for her initially, but after she was admitted, Michelle went up to her room to visit. While taking an opportunity to drop in when she could, Michelle found out that one of the hospital’s Respiratory Therapists was a 20-year cancer survivor and another nurse had just received a cancer diagnosis. Michelle was moved by how so many were dealing with cancer.
One day, while visiting the stage 4 cancer patient, she learned that her biggest fear about having cancer was losing her hair. Michelle told her not to worry and that after her shift that day, she was going to shave her head bald in support of cancer patients. The next day, with a freshly shaved head, Michelle went up to visit her former patient and show her support. Needless to say, the emotional response was overwhelming and has motivated Michelle to continue “rocking” her bald head in support!
Registered Nurse, Albert R., has been caring more with Supplemental Health Care since 2012. Anyone who crosses paths with Albert, as a patient or co-worker, is treated like a friend and member of his family. It is his gregarious personality and compassion for helping others that makes him such a fantastic healthcare professional. As a teenager, Albert knew he was destined for a career in healthcare after witnessing a traumatic incident. After leaving a shift at work, he became aware that a homeless man was the victim of a hit and run accident. Albert felt helpless as he saw the man unconscious, more than 150 feet from the point of impact. Albert marveled at the work of the paramedics and knew then that he would work in healthcare.
Albert also takes pride in being a member of the Supplemental Health Care team and is always in attendance at company events. Not only because Albert is truly excited about life and loves having a good time, but also because he enjoys sharing stories about his home family with his work family!
Recently, Albert played a key role in saving a patient’s life, and when it was over, he proudly posed for a picture with his fellow life-savers. Congratulations Albert! Supplemental Health Care is lucky to have you on our team!
Tony was drawn to serve by enlisting in the United States Air Force at the age of 20 where he ended up pursuing healthcare and Physical Therapy. As a physical therapy technician in the USAF, Tony felt fortunate to have the opportunity to help care for heroes in the form of active and retired service members. One patient, in particular, made an impression on Tony which led him down his future path in healthcare.
The patient was a retired Army officer who had served for five years with General Patton during World War II. Tony treated him for three months, and they became friends.“
“This gentleman had a very rough three months of treatment,” Tony explains. “About six months later, he returned to the hospital, and we greeted each other with a tearful hug of happiness. At that moment, I realized how healthcare allows people to connect in a deep, personal, and lasting way.”
Tony demonstrates his commitment to Care More because he treats all of his patients the way he would want care provided to his family members. He takes the approach that by listening carefully to his patient’s concerns, he is better equipped to provide the perfect level of care. According to Tony, his approach isn’t special, it is simply the right way to treat others around me.
By the age of 20-years old, Agbor Gladys thought she had achieved her career goal of working in a 5-star hotel in the capital city Yaoundé, in Cameroon, West Africa. Then, in April 1994, she left her hotel career in Africa and migrated to the United States to begin a new life. With the support of her family, she changed paths and pursued a career in healthcare. After four years of hard work and overcoming many challenges, she achieved her Associate Degree in Nursing and began working at Grady Memorial Hospital, in Atlanta.
After working at Grady Memorial for 10 years, Gladys decided to return to school and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at West Georgia University. She then began working in Acute Long-term Care and for the past six years in Home Care settings. Throughout 19 years as a nursing professional, Gladys has demonstrated her Care More attitude every day on the job. She has especially enjoyed working with her elderly patients in Home Care.
“Working with my elderly patients is a very pleasant experience,” she says. “Not only do they learn from me, but they also pass on their wisdom to me by sharing personal life experiences that provide me with the encouragement and motivation to do even more in my community.”
A school district typically has hundreds, if not thousands of employees working for them throughout the school year. To be named ‘Employee of the Year’ for a school district is quite the accomplishment. That is the honor that was bestowed on Andrea Decuir, LPN from the Mehlville School District near St. Louis. To make the honor even more significant, Andrea is technically an employee of Supplemental Health Care working out of the St. Louis office and is on assignment at the school district as a middle school nurse!
Even from a young age, Andrea knew that her calling in life was to become a healthcare professional helping others. By the time she finished elementary school, she knew she was destined to be a nurse. Now, Andrea has been an LPN for eight years and enjoys working in the school environment.
“I love that every day is different,” she explains. “I enjoy seeing the kids and helping them feel better when they are sick. Sometimes my job is simply getting them to smile or laugh or to give them a high-five and make them feel proud because they actually ate their breakfast.”
Emily has worked as a Speech Language Pathologist for over 10 years and partner with SHC for 3 of those years. During that time she developed a music based communication group that works to engage several of her patients in a fun, social settings. While the skills of the participant vary widely, Emily finds it’s a way to connect with her patients in her clinical setting.
John has been a PTA for 11 years, the last ten of which he has spent with Supplemental Health Care. If ever there was someone who exemplifies the SHC brand, you would have to look no further than John. He is counted on for more than just caring for his patients across all settings, he is also a Senior Ambassador in the Kansas City Allied Office. John is often called upon to speak to clinician candidates and help them understand why SHC is such a great career opportunity for them. He even helps out at career fairs and community events!
John was working with a 17-year-old high school senior who was involved in a terrible motorcycle accident that resulted in the student losing his leg. The doctor was ready to discharge because of a rehab plateau had been reached. However, John noted that the patient had just started taking steps and John pushed for a prosthesis. Because of John’s insistence, the patient ended up walking out of the rehab center under his own power! The hospital extended John’s contract that year because the patient’s mom wanted John as his therapist.
Whenever you see someone who is amazing at their job, it is natural to think that the person was born to do it. There is no finer example of that sentiment than when you see Nikki Cavers, LPN, in action. From her earliest memories, Nikki knew that she would be a nurse. Doing everything she can to help others is a natural inclination for her. Now, having been an LPN for 13 years, she has worked across the spectrum of settings, in Pediatrics, Geriatrics, hospitals, a Doctor’s office, and even two years in corrections nursing.
“I truly love what I do,” she explains. “Simply knowing that I am helping someone, and sometimes it is just about being there to listen.”
Nikki naturally seems to make an impression on her patients and those around her. She serves as a shining example of what qualities embody amazing nurses. While working in a rehab facility, Nikki was working with an elderly couple.
“These two were a real-life love story,” Nikki recalls. “They were poor and didn’t have much, but they had each other, and it was all they needed.”
Eventually, the wife recovered enough to go home, while the husband still had several months of recovery ahead of him. Unexpectedly, a few months later, the wife passed away while the husband remained in rehab. Nikki made sure that he had a suit to wear and arranged for a small funeral service at the rehab facility since he wasn’t well enough to leave the location. Nobody had to ask Nikki to go out of her way to do something thoughtful and compassionate for her patient. It is who she is and why she is a special caregiver.
From all of us here at SHC, we wish Nikki the best of luck in her competition.