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.
Alex R. has been a Social Worker professionally for 29 years but has been advocating on behalf of others for as long as she can remember.
“I’m not sure if I chose social work, or if social work chose me,” she recalls. “I have always loved helping others, and much to the chagrin of my teachers, when I was young, I was always advocating on behalf of my fellow students.”
Alex refers to her career as a calling. She had always wanted to work in the field of psychiatry, and social work allowed her to combine a love of advocacy work with being a therapist. For the most part, Alex has spent her career in hospital settings. She has worked inpatient and outpatient positions in the Psychiatry Department, and also in chemical dependency programs.
When asked about what she loves the most about her job, Alex explains how gratifying it is to help people understand that they are not alone and others are going through the same types of things.
“It can be scary to work on yourself emotionally,” she explains. “People often feel that it is easier to handle working on the physical aspects of life, much more than emotional ones. I see part of my role as understanding and validating what a person may be experiencing emotionally and helping them lessen their judgment of themselves. And I love seeing people grow into the person they want to be.”
Anyone who has worked with Alex knows it is natural for her to go out of her way to put other people first. Whether it is a patient or a coworker. A clear example of that attitude and compassion happened a few weeks ago as Alex was leaving the campus where she worked. As she stepped off the elevator after finishing her shift, a woman came up to her asking for help finding the Emergency Department. She told Alex that she felt nauseous and light-headed and that something weird was happening with her heart.
Alex led her over to a couch and asked her to lay down or at least sit. She explained to the woman that there wasn’t an ER in this clinical campus and the nearest ER was several miles away. Alex knew that the woman could not drive herself to the ER. Just then, Alex saw two EMTs from a local ambulance company, and she called them over to help. They said they didn’t have any equipment with them, so they couldn’t be of much assistance. Undeterred, Alex ran to the Security Guard’s desk to have them call 911, but it was unattended. She immediately called 911, explained the situation, and then went back to wait with the woman and to try and keep her calm.
Once the Fire Department arrived, Alex met them outside to show them where the patient was, and she explained the symptoms that she was experiencing. As the first responders were trying to communicate with the woman, she was disoriented and confused, so Alex tried to explain what the woman was saying. After they performed their initial exam, the Fire Department told Alex that they could handle it from there. After filling out an incident report for the campus Charge Nurse, Alex finally left for home, a full 90 minutes after she had clocked out for the day.
A week later, Alex was approached by her manager who told her the Charge Nurse from that night reached out to tell her what happened. She also told Alex that her actions saved the woman’s life. Soon, the manager had informed everyone in Alex’s department and even spoke about the incident at a staff meeting.
“They say I saved her life, I guess I don’t know about that, but I do know that I was able to help her. I would have acted the same way no matter where I was. To me, this is just part of being a human being and having compassion for others. I am happy to have helped in any way that I could.”
Congratulations to Alex Rossman, for her incredible actions in saving a person’s life and for being an amazing representative of SHC’s commitment to ‘Care More.’ Alex’s selflessness has earned her the Care More Spotlight for March, which, fittingly enough, is Social Work Month in honor of all social workers.
Like so many of us, Tina Kollar spent her college years trying to figure out what her career path might look like. She had always been interested in working with children, and one of her jobs in college was teaching classes in sports and gymnastics at a local recreation center. During this time, she found that working with the children was rewarding and gave her a sense of fulfillment, so she knew that her future would involve continuing that work.
After finishing her undergrad, Tina wanted to earn a Master’s degree, so she spent time studying different programs. When she came across School Psychology, things began to fall into place for her. Following that path would allow her to fulfill her ambitions to work with children, and since she knew she wanted to pursue a family of her own one day, the idea of working in a school setting close to her own children was very appealing. As it turns out, Tina discovered her true calling and becoming a School Psychologist has turned into a perfect match.
“One of the most fulfilling parts of my job is being able to help and develop children while also trying to support a stronger family environment,” she explains. “The one thing I look forward to most is talking with the kids and getting to know them and understand them. I love walking down the hallway in the school, and when they see me coming, they light up and run towards me to give me high fives."
Receiving that kind of reaction from the students provides Tina with the validation that she is making a difference in their lives. Tina is currently splitting her time between two schools and has become indispensable to both. She has been described as continually going above and beyond the call of duty and accomplishing more in her 40 hours a week, than most could do in double that amount of time. Whether she is helping a student cope with a challenging situation, or listening to the concerns of a parent, Tina demonstrates a level of caring and compassion that is unmatched.
One example that exemplifies the type of effect Tina has on her students occurred when she was working in a middle school setting. One student, in particular, was struggling, and he came from a very low-income family. As many educators do, Tina supplied him with a backpack, binders, paper, and a few other supplies. Twelve years later, Tina was out in the community and was approached by a young man. He had a startled look on his face and said, “Mrs. Kollar?” He was the middle school student that Tina had helped all those years ago. He excitedly told her about his job and kept thanking her for helping him through that rough patch.
“This situation had an impact on me,” she recalls. “It reinforced my love and enjoyment for this profession. It also reminded me that I really am making a difference in their lives, even at times when it may not be readily apparent.”
Supplemental Health Care is proud to recognize Tina as February’s Care More Spotlight honoree. For as much as she is doing for her students, she is also a valued advocate for Supplemental Health Care. When the recruitment team reaches out to ask Tina if she would be willing to speak with a potential new hire about her experiences with Supplemental Health Care, she is always willing to share her story. Congratulations Tina, thank you for everything you do for those in your care and for being such an amazing representative of the Supplemental Care More spirit!
On a Thursday morning, October 12, 2000, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer, the USS Cole was bombed in a terrorist attack. Seventeen sailors lost their lives, and another 39 were injured that day. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Sonar Technician Jennifer sprang into action and began triaging her fellow shipmates who were injured in the bombing. With no formal medical training, Jennifer took direction from a fellow sailor who had healthcare training and did everything she could to help the wounded. At that moment, among the smoke and chaos, Jennifer decided that she would pursue a career in healthcare and become a registered nurse.
“That experience changed me forever,” Jennifer explains. “And even though my mother and two sisters are nurses, I never thought I would become a nurse. But, after leaving the military, I decided that I never wanted to be in an emergency situation again without the proper training.”
As a nurse, Jennifer always goes out of her way to help her patients and often reflects on things that happened on the USS Cole. That day, she learned a lot about herself and found that she was willing to protect those in her care no matter what was happening around her. While helping a wounded sailor, Jennifer was by herself and unable to transport him out of the workspace. Thick, black smoke began to fill the space, and it was becoming very difficult to breathe. Jennifer’s shipmate implored her to stay by his side, so she tore off pieces of her shirt and wrapped it around her face as a mask, and then she did the same for him.
“I promised him that I would not leave him,” she recalls. “I have no idea how much time passed, but eventually, other sailors came upon us and helped transport the wounded sailor out of the compartment. He survived, and that was what mattered the most!”
A self-described people person, Jennifer states that helping her patients through their health challenges is what motivates her the most about being a nurse. She thrives in an active environment and appreciates having a job that keeps her on her toes.
“I always treat my patients with respect and imagine that it is me on that side of the bed. Having that perspective motivates me to work hard for them and try my best to make them as comfortable and happy as possible.”
As a travel nurse with Supplemental Health Care, Jennifer enjoys the freedom and flexibility that comes with her various assignments, and she credits the recruitment team for always finding her jobs in the areas that she wants to explore.
From all of us here at Supplemental Health Care, thank you for your service to our country and to your patients, and congratulations on earning January’s Care More Spotlight.
“There are so many kids in need, and I believe everyone deserves good quality healthcare regardless of their socioeconomic status, cultural or language barriers. We can’t help where we came from, but we can most certainly help where we’re going!”
That quote from Supplemental Health Care’s December Care More Spotlight winner, Brianna, tells you all you need to know about her and the job she performs as a school nurse for the Buffalo Public School system. Brianna originally graduated from college and started her career in the corporate world, but always felt like she was meant to be doing something else. After a year, she decided she had to go back to school and pursue a career in healthcare.
“I chose healthcare as a profession because it was always in my heart to help others,” she explains. “For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be the first person to step in and help or advocate for someone in need.”
For the past five years, Brianna has been pursuing her healthcare career as an LPN and has worked in a variety of settings. She has spent time working in inner-city outpatient clinics serving refugee and low-income populations. She has also volunteered in third world countries and now serves as a school nurse at PS #76, Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy.
“Until I began working for SHC and the Buffalo Public Schools, I could never say I felt like I belonged. My job here is my life,” she says. “I am so excited to come to work every day and see my students smiling faces. SHC has given me the best gift in the world, and that is a happy home!”
Brianna was nominated for and received the Care More Spotlight recognition because of another of her many selfless acts on behalf of her students. She submitted her school on the “Donors Choose” school funding website to receive clinical supplies and other critical school essentials for her students. And, she received the funding! To those who work with and know Brianna, they understand that finding ways to help others is nothing new for her. For example, when she learned that a single mother with 5 children under the age of ten had arrived in the local community with nothing but the clothes on their backs, Brianna jumped into action. She helped the family get established with a primary care doctor to get much-needed medications and organized a clothing drive to supply the family with boots, hats, scarves, and other essential items for them.
Even though Brianna likes to express her appreciation to Supplemental Health Care for supporting her career as a school nurse, everyone at SHC is equally appreciative and proud to have an amazing caregiver like Brianna representing us through the Buffalo Public Schools. Congratulations to Brianna Perry, December’s Care More Spotlight Winner!
One can never question Sister Mary Teresa’s commitment to her nursing craft. She worked her way through St. Margaret School of Nursing as a nurse aide and surgical technician. She then earned an Associate of Arts in English from Donnelly College, her BSN from Missouri Northwest, and later a Masters in Adult Education at Pittsburgh State, and a Master of Public Health at St. Louis University.
All of that education has led her to experience nursing and patient care in a multitude of care settings. Known as Mary T. or “MT,” she has been with Supplemental Health Care since August of 2017, and she embodies the Care More spirit in everything she does.
“My favorite thing about nursing is having an opportunity to make the healthcare system work for a patient,” she explains. “In today’s terms, it is called patient advocacy. Nothing is ever out of reach. That is the spirit of nursing which St. Margaret School of Nursing inoculated within us!”
A very scary occurrence on a Friday in September of this year cemented just how far Sister Mary Teresa would go to advocate for the patients under her care.
While driving to her next patient visit, an oncoming car drove into her lane. To avoid a head-on collision, Sister Mary swerved toward the shoulder and ended up going into a ditch, where her car flipped and ended upside down. The other car apparently didn’t see what happened and kept on driving. Suspended by her seatbelt, upside down in her vehicle, Sister Mary Teresa immediately phoned her Staffing Manager, Morgan Van Dyke, to inform her that she was not going to be able to see the rest of her patients that day. Her immediate concern was not for herself, but for those who relied on her home care visits.
Eventually, she was extricated from the vehicle and transported to the Emergency Department at the local hospital. Later, when Mary’s Staffing Manager and Area Manager arrived, they found her on a gurney in the ED with her work iPad open and on a cell phone coordinating coverage for her patients for the next few days that she would be out of work. As is typical of Mary T, throughout this entire ordeal, her only concern was for others, and she didn’t want anyone to make a fuss about her.
Unfortunately, contrary to her humble nature, the Care More Spotlight for November is shining directly on Sister Mary Teresa for her selfless dedication to those in her care. We feel very fortunate and proud to have her as part of the Supplemental Health Care team! Congratulations!
As a nursing professional, sometimes the most important job you have during a shift is advocating for your patients. When someone is ill or injured, they may not have the ability to advocate for themselves, and that is where October’s Care More Spotlight recipient, Lisa Rodgers steps in. Lisa has been a Registered Nurse for eight years and has been traveling as an Emergency Department RN since 2013. As a traveler, Lisa has worked in 11 different emergency departments across the United States, and she has learned new things every step along the way. One thing she never passes up is an opportunity to advocate on behalf of her patients.
“I love my job. I love the days when I leave work, and I feel so fulfilled because I was able to make a difference in someone’s life,” she explains. “It’s hard to balance being efficient in the job, but also take the time to make every patient feel important. I love making a human connection with my patients and their families, even if it is just being present for 5 minutes to listen.”
Being an advocate for your patients is not always an easy task. Sometimes it means standing up to those in leadership positions who may not be seeing the situation from the same level as you are on the front lines.
On one occasion, in particular, Lisa took her familiar role as an advocate for a patient who had come into the ED by ambulance, but she didn’t speak any English. The patient had vague complaints, and both the ambulance crew and the physician on staff requested that the husband be let back into the room to translate. Lisa sensed a disconnect because of how upset the patient was, and the lack of clarity with what she was experiencing. Lisa asked the husband to remain in the waiting room and brought in a hospital translator to help everyone communicate better.
At a certain point, the ambulance crew and physician left the room, leaving Lisa alone with her patient and the translator. Lisa asked the patient if there was anything else she could do for her, to which the woman replied, “Can I trust you?” It was then that Lisa found out that the woman was in an abusive relationship, and she feared for her life. Because of her language barrier, she had no close friends and no local relatives, so she had no one to help her out. Lisa ultimately arranged for whatever resources the hospital was able to offer the woman. When she left work later that day, she had an understanding that her patient was now ready to leave the dangerous environment she had been trapped in.
“As nurses, we take care of patients all the time, and we do not always know the final outcome,” she said recently. “I feel fortunate to have learned that she is finally safe. It is always important to use an independent translator and have the understanding that being an advocate in the smallest way, can make a huge difference in someone’s life!”
Supplemental Health Care is proud to have Lisa Rodgers as a part of our travel team and thank her for being an outstanding nurse and advocate!
Many times in life, the smallest of conversations can have a profound impact on our future. Such was the case with Theresa, a Supplemental Health Care RN working at School 93 for the Buffalo Public School District. Theresa’s career goal of becoming a nurse began when she was just sixteen years old. She was working her first job at a local nursing home. Every day, her elderly neighbor Art would sit out on his front porch after working all day in his small town corner store. One summer evening, as Theresa was passing by after work, she stopped for a visit with her friendly neighbor. He asked Theresa how she liked working with the elderly.
“I told him that I loved it and that it was a great job,” Theresa explained. “Then, Art told me that not many people would like that sort of work because of the amount of personal care the elderly need. At first, I couldn’t comprehend what he meant, so I just replied that they are people too! Art teared up a little when I said that and I felt a little sad to think that there were people out there who felt that because they were older and needed care that they were less than others and sometimes forgotten. That conversation made me want to help people and not just with physical needs, but emotional and social needs as well. I wanted to become a nurse so that others would feel loved.”
Theresa has been a nurse for three years and has focused on working in school settings. She was recently nominated as a Care More Spotlight Award for her exceptional work in the Buffalo Public Schools.
“The staff at School 93 loves Theresa,” wrote Laeni Mazurkiewicz, Area Manager for Supplemental Health Care. “She is always happy and cheerful and cares about her students, her work, and her clinic. They love that she is a part of their team!”
In reflecting on her Care More Spotlight Award and her career choice to become a nurse, Theresa mentions more than just being able to provide medical care.
“What I love the most about what I do isn’t the grandiose or obvious interactions that happen. It is more about those quiet moments of a comforting hand or kind words that make a difference in a student’s day. We may not be able to help everyone, but even if we help just one person succeed, that becomes part of our legacy and who knows what kind of ripple effect that will have on others!”
As much as Supplemental Health Care appreciates the work that she is doing at School 93, Theresa feels the same about being a member of the SHC team. She points to the feeling of community and expresses how important it is to have such a strong sense of unity and support throughout the organization.
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.