I would like to tell you a little about myself and my hopes for this Blog. I have always had a heart for helping people. When I was in high school I wanted to be a social worker, but my mom was afraid that I would not like it because of things I would see. I guess she thought I was too soft hearted.
As I started out my journey in life as an adult I have always been drawn to helping people. My first ‘career job’ was as a Personnel Consultant for a temporary agency. I actually went there responding to an ad for a temporary job, but was recruited to work in-house. I worked there for 6 years. I found that there 3 types of people that go to temporary agencies:
- The professional temp: These are the best temps. They are people that do not need to work, but like to work and want a change in scenery. They are good workers and work hard, all of the companies love them.
- The unskilled but have to work and don’t want to temp: These are the worst. These temps will call everyday to find work, but half of the time they will not show up for their assignment, or when they do, they are not good workers so the company does not want them back. (I have a heart for these people)
- The laid off employee who thinks that temp work (and the pay) is beneath them, but in order to keep receiving unemployment they must look for work temp: These are actually just as bad as the unskilled slackers (keep in mind these slackers have a place in my heart) only the laid off employee is different. They are just as bad as the slacker because they do not realize the opportunities they would have if they took one of the jobs that may be ‘beneath them’. (I also have a heart for these temps)
As my family grew I knew that I could not stay at this job because they had no real benefits other than vacation and insurance. I was staffing for county positions and some good temps were getting good jobs. I had always dreamed about being a caseworker. Being able to help people better themselves and sharing resources with them.
I decided to start applying for jobs at Job and Family Services to become a caseworker. Within a year I was hired by Child Support, not truly my cup of tea, but my foot was in the door. I finally made my way from Child Support over to the meat of Job and Family Services as a case worker (Job and Family Service Specialist as they call it). I loved that job! Here again I was working with the same types of people as I was at the temp agency.
- The professional recipient: opposite from the profession temp though, these people are otherwise known as “lifers”, they are on assistance, their parents were on assistance, their grandparents were on assistance, and the cycle never ends. (I have a heart for these people)
- The unskilled person that cannot keep a job recipient: These people are the meat of the public assistance program, our agency was supposed to train these people, allow them to gain work experience by ‘volunteering’ in order to receive assistance, but more often than not, they never gain anything from the system other than hard times trying to find out how to ‘beat’ the system. (I have a heart for these people)
- The use and move on recipient: These are the people the system actually works for, they get some assistance when they are down, and then they move on to being a productive member of society.
While I loved my actual job, I did not love the way other caseworkers did the bare minimum to assist their clients, or be rude to them talking as if they were ‘above’ them. I always treated my clients as if I was the one in need, knowing that I was always one paycheck away from being on the other side of the desk. I loved seeing my clients, talking with them, sharing little tips with them, or referring them to other places for services we did not offer. Then the county went to a telephone interview system. Clients no longer came in. I began to be very miserable with my job. Around this time I had just received my Bachelors Degree in Sociology, and I was very involved with my church. I went on a mission trip to Costa Rica for one week. When I returned from the trip the thought about going back to work literally made me cry. I had been applying for some other jobs here and there, but then I really began my search for a new career.
For just over two years now I have been a Healthcare Representative (patient advocate) at a local hospital. During my two years I have finished my Masters Degree in Human Service with a focus on Family Life Education. My patients at the hospital are pretty much the same as my clients from the temp agency and from the county. I work with people that do not have insurance. I go to their room and speak to them about Medicaid. If they would potentially qualify for Medicaid I help them obtain it. Sometimes they would only qualify if the patient is disabled, so at that point I apply for their SSI/SSDI for them as well. Here again, I work with three types of patients.
- The critically ill patient: These patients come in to the hospital either through a trauma (motor vehicle collision) or a simple cough, or headache that will not go away. They come to find out that they will need to go to and extended care facility in order to recover and will not be able to work for quite some time, or they find out they have brain or lung cancer and must start chemo/radiation.
- The ‘use the hospital as their primary care physician’ patient: these are what we call the ‘repeat offenders’. They actually have a medical issue that needs attention, but they do not take the medicine they need to treat the condition because they either cannot afford it, would rather buy drugs with the money they do come across, or in the psychiatric patients; they do not think they need the medicine. (I have a heart for these patients-not that I do not have a heart for the critically ill, but these people need the most help)
- The acute condition patient: These are the patients that most likely need to have gallbladder surgery, or some other type of surgery, or they come in for pneumonia (conditions that are not disabling, but need attention none the less).
I love all of the patients I work with, but my favorite patients are the mentally ill, the homeless, and the drug abusers. I am amazed by their stories and I love to reach out to them and guide them to resources we cannot provide. The only downside to my current job is that with the Medicaid Extension most of the people we help will no longer need our help. It is now that time to start working on what I have been training for most of my adult life. Helping others!