As you prepare to step into your career in health care, there’s no substitute for that part-time job that gives you tons of experience with patient care.
Health care majors gain precisely that when they work as direct care providers at ACR.
Whether your next step after graduation is launching your full-time career or beginning graduate studies, these stories illustrate how the patient contact experiences you get at ACR can put you a step ahead of the competition.
What do you gain? Most students work as direct care providers (DCP) for our residents with moderate to severe disabilities. DCPs provide extensive care around-the-clock to these patients. As you work as a DCP, your daily tasks will help you accumulate the patient contact hours you need to stand out on your applications.
Accumulate patient contact hours
Medical schools and other post-grad programs will be looking at the number of hours of direct patient care you’ve accumulated. At ACR, many tasks can be counted toward patient contact hours to help you stand out on applications for jobs and post-graduate studies: doing vitals, passing medications, using complex equipment, bathing, performing diagnostics, helping residents use the bathroom, walking with residents and carrying out prescribed therapies and treatments.
“ACR provided me with the patient contact hours to be accepted into PA school,” says Lanie Rudie, who worked at ACR as an undergrad at the University of Minnesota. “All of the things I learned at ACR helped me succeed in PA school and have helped me in my first job as a PA.”
But as Rudie is quick to point out, she gained a great deal more than accumulating patient care hours at ACR homes. Here are some of the career-building skills and experiences Rudie and other former students picked up in their time at ACR. In many cases these are things you can’t pick up in a classroom.
“One invaluable skill I learned while working at ACR was learning how to communicate with someone who cannot physically speak,” Rudie says. “I learned creative ways to communicate both nonverbally and through other visual cues that I use almost daily at my job in the ICU with patients that are intubated and cannot speak. It is a skill that I will always be thankful for.”
Communicating with colleagues
Providing excellent care is a team effort. The more you and your colleagues help each other fill in knowledge gaps about your patients, the better care they will receive.
Priya Kanajam recognized the value of this while she worked as a DCP during her undergrad years. That’s how this concept found its way into her internship. One aspect of her research project had her reviewing the medical records and diagnoses on a pair of residents, as well as their family history and behaviors. She compiled this information to educate other ACR staff who would care for them.
“I took that role to be the messenger between residents and the staff and help bridge gaps in knowledge about my residents so that they could get the best care possible,” Kanajam says.
Taking the initiative to build this channel of information will lend itself well to her career as a physician—a path she’ll be starting this Fall at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Managing tough situations
One reality of life in health care is negative emotions that can come up, as patients and their families cope with upsetting news and situations. Dr. Daniel Plack discovered he had what it takes to de-escalate tense and agitating situations during his time at ACR as a pre-med undergrad.
“(K)nowing how to use body language, calm voice and distraction techniques have been helpful,” Plack says. “This has been especially helpful with patients and families that are frustrated with their health care.”
How ACR helps you stand out during an interview
In her four years at ACR, Oksana Lelyukh Kostyukevich’s experiences proved foundational to her application to a physician assistant program. She performed diagnostics, was trained to use a wide range of medical equipment and she learned to spot non-verbal cues from the residents.
“ACR has definitely been my greatest ‘growth period,’ medically speaking, and it was the biggest edge on my application and interview,” Kostyukevich says.
During her interviews for the SCUHS (Southern California University of Health Sciences) physician assistant program, she was “100% set apart from other students because of the level of experience ACR allows their employees to gain and excel in.”
She drew on her on-call weekend supervisor experiences to showcase her leadership skills. And she impressed the panel with her drive and versatility during her work as an emergency float.
Learn more about Kostyukevich’s interviews here
Gain patient care hours and more
Interested in finding meaningful work that will help you feel extra prepared for the next step in your career in health care? Read the ACR Homes Application & Interview Process.