For the vast majority of ACR Homes employees, work comes to represent far more than just a paycheck.
A lot of our people join us because they’re interested in careers in healthcare, in which case the chance to interact regularly with our residents and staff can offer an invaluable behind-the-scenes perspective. Would-be medical professionals are able to see other practitioners in action, learn basic care-giving skills, experience problem-solving firsthand, and gain a better understanding of whether they’d be a good fit — all while developing relationships with residents and enjoying the intrinsic rewards of helping them lead better lives.
In other cases, people come to us expecting little more than an enjoyable workplace and a chance to make a living. Then they find their hearts so touched by our residents — and see the nature of the work as so compelling — that they “get the calling” to return to school to pursue more advanced careers in healthcare.
Either way, our staff are often ahead of their peers when it comes to accruing key on-the-job experience that can help them qualify for educational programs and/or earn new degrees. Instead of starting their formal medical training as untried newcomers, our people often move forward with a substantial resume of experiences and hours that count toward in-field requirements. In fact, many of our employees who are students are able to custom-design their own ACR Homes internships to correspond with their interests and specific areas of study.
Wherever they are in their careers, our staffers can move forward with the confidence that comes from a deeper understanding about helping people with disabilities live their best lives. Some examples of ACR staffers who have made the most of their experiences with us:
High schooler gains confident career path
University of St Catherine’s student Caroline became a direct care professional at ACR at age 18 while still in high-school, working nights in order to explore a nursing career and to optimize the company’s free training in CPR, First Aid, passing medications, personal care, basic nutrition and behavior management.
“Working at ACR gave me confidence this is what I want to do,” she comments. “I’m passionate about it. I know this is what I want to go to school for. (ACR was) really great about working with me to make sure I could get my training done and arrange my hours so that I could do my course work and still provide exceptional care for my residents.”
PA candidate logs over 2000 hours of patient care experience
University of Minnesota graduate Mitch Tiedke was required to log 1,000 to 2,000 hours of patient care during his pre-training as a physician’s assistant.Fortunately, ACR was willing to work around his school and personal commitments to help him gain more than 2,000 hours over the past two years. As such, Tiedke lent his talents to at least 10 different group home settings, worked with nearly 40 clients and helped manage a wide range of medical conditions and behavioral styles — all of which will empowered him and helped him get accepted into his PA program at Red Rocks Community College.
“Working for ACR Homes has given me a new and very important perspective into the medical field that I believe gets overlooked,” he remarks. “I learned to look beneath the surface on issues that are already being addressed to try to see if there is a better way for the problem to be overcome. This internship has allowed me to tap into my own innovation by finding a topic independently and being my own project manager.”
Customized internship ends with prototype
While working as a direct care professional at ACR, University of Minnesota biomedical engineering student Myrriah Laine was able to work with a number of residents who have limited hand motion due to strokes, traumatic brain injuries or aneurysms. She used her experience to devise an internship to develop an exoskeleton device that could help them clench and unclench their fists as a physical therapy exercise. Next, she plans to print a prototype of the device she can show future employers as her solution to a real-world problem.
“Working for ACR Homes has given me a new and very important perspective into the medical field that I believe gets overlooked,” Laine notes. “I learned to look beneath the surface on issues already being addressed to try to see if there is a better way for the problem to be overcome. This internship has allowed me to tap into my own innovation by finding a topic independently and being my own project manager.”
Quotes from other former employees:
“I won’t forget how inspired and motivated I felt at the end of the day. Hearing from multiple professionals passionate about gearing medicine toward individualized care confirmed I’m in the right place at ACR, and on the right track for a career in healthcare.” — former ACR employee Tiffany Hansen after an ACR-hosted seminar at the Mayo Clinic
“I pursued a pre-PA internship during my time with ACR. In the process I received great direction in meetings with various ACR staff, and even with ACR CEO Jim Nelson. I found I was asked about my ACR internship in many of my PA interviews; they were all impressed ACR Homes gives the opportunity to its employees to become better future healthcare providers.” — Midwestern University PA graduate Olivia Schultz
“While working at ACR I gained skills in teamwork, creative problem solving, dealing with stress and resilience. ACR taught me every person’s life has meaning and value, and as a physician you need to have that mindset with every patient so you can help them with whatever problem they may be having that day.” — Cory M., medical school resident at The George Washington University.