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.
Recognized by ASA as the 2018 Staffing Employee of the Year, Brittney exemplifies the core values of what a SHC Hero is. Brittney has been part of the Supplemental Health Care team for over three years, helping students in the St. Louis, MO, school district as a speech-language pathologist. “Her kind, caring personality just fits right in with the work that she does,” says Natalie Ehlenbeck, senior market manager at Supplemental Health Care in St. Louis. “She can create an environment where her students thrive. We have people who fight to get her into their schools, just because she is so remarkable in the way she goes about doing her work.”
At Staffing World® in Chicago last October, she brought more than 2,000 industry professionals to their feet as she accepted her National Staffing Employee of the Year award. It was a shining moment for an outstanding professional, contract employee, mother, and spouse—made possible by dedication, hard work, and a valuable relationship with her staffing company.
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.”
Like many people fresh out of high school, Kym wasn’t sure about what she wanted to do for a career, but she felt the need to serve her country, so she enlisted in the Army. She was serving as an All-Wheel Mechanic while a friend of hers who enlisted on the same day as her, joined as a medic. One day, he was showing Kym all of the materials in his aid bag, and it struck a chord with her. She began to do some research about combat medic duties and eventually reclassified as a Health Care Specialist. From then on, instead of fixing vehicles, Kym would be helping humans.
After serving from 2006 to 2012, Kym had gained valuable experience working in an Ambulance unit, and also in the ICU and ER at Landstuhl Medical Center in Germany.
“I didn’t fall in love with being a medic right away,” Kym recalls. “But, I remember the moment I fell in love with nursing. It was when I was working in the ER and having that feeling of going home every day knowing I had made a difference in someone’s life that day. And not just one someone, multiple people every day!”
After leaving the Army, Kym went to school for her nursing degree, earning her Bachelor’s Degree in 2018. For Kym, her love of nursing is deeply rooted in who she is as a person. Whether on the job or not, she is always going to be there for someone in need. She has stopped to render aid to car accident victims while they waited for an ambulance to come, at another crash scene, she was able to extract a trapped motorist out of a badly mangled vehicle to get them safely away from leaking gasoline.
“These are just things that I do without thinking,” she explains. “In my mind, we are supposed to care for and love one another. Since I have the tools and training to make a bad situation better, I do what I can until the Police, and the EMT’s arrive.”
Kym always demonstrates a ‘Care More’ attitude and is just as effective in her work setting as she is out in the field. Since earning her nursing degree, she has been a school nurse. Kym has been working for the Buffalo Public Schools since August of this year and recently was honored as their Employee of the Month.
“I love being able to make someone’s day just a little bit better. Being able to ease their pain, or ease their mind and make them feel like somebody cares about them. You can’t say that about a lot of professions. That’s why I love being a nurse!”
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.