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Erika Froiland was an undergrad at the University of Minnesota when she first joined ACR Homes as a direct care professional several years ago. She went on to enroll in the company’s internship program and graduate from the U with a degree in psychology. Now, she’s serving in an emergency float position with ACR to gain more skills and experience before she applies to an occupational therapy graduate program. Here’s her ACR story.

“My role as a DCP included serving four individuals by assisting them with their daily routines, personal care, leisure activities, medications and more. I really got to know the residents well, and had the opportunity to work closely with a community of wonderful employees with the shared goal of helping the residents live fulfilling lives. That led me to consider the healthcare field when thinking about my future career.

“I love that the internships at ACR are meaningful to both residents and staff. The interns get to learn and develop various skills in whatever type of internship they chose, and since they use their creativity and passion to give residents a better quality of life, residents are positively impacted.

“Now, I’m using my gap years to explore different career options and gain valuable experience. The float position is wonderful because the it allows you to work with a wide variety of individuals with different diagnoses. The schedule is very flexible, which is a huge bonus, and you will constantly be learning — there is never a dull moment.

“I am constantly learning so much about individual differences in the functions of mind and body. I’m learning how I can use my knowledge to assist others, keeping their differences in mind and adapting the way I think to better care for those who think differently than I do. It’s important to be able to observe an individual’s unique abilities and find a way to care for someone in a way that complements those abilities, and allows the individual to live as independently as possible.

“Another skill set I’ve improved while working as a float is communication. My position has helped me get better at meeting new people inside and outside the work environment. And each resident has a different way of communicating — while some are verbal communicators, others use sign language, hand signs, gestures or other body language. It’s been really moving to discover the ways in which others communicate. And learning these interpersonal communication strategies supports me in other aspects of my life outside of work.

“The most rewarding part of my work at ACR has been the relationships I’ve been able to develop with the residents. They teach me so much about what it means to be human, and I love being able to support them. Having the opportunity to help someone live a fulfilling life definitely has its benefits.

“I’m confident the lifelong skills I’ve developed through my time at ACR, including communication, adaptability, adjustment and leadership, will someday help me get into a graduate program and later assist me in my future career as an occupational therapist.

“If you are even the slightest bit interested in working for ACR, you should go for it. There’s something here for everyone, and the work is meaningful for both the residents and staff. There are so many different placement options, and our team does a great job finding the right fit for you.”

Want to learn more about the e-float position at ACR? Learn more here!