If you’re a college student considering a direct care professional job with ACR Homes, but you’ve never worked with people with disabilities, you may feel a bit uncertain about what that may entail, and whether you can handle the responsibilities involved.
Those feelings are understandable. Many who don’t have friends or family members with disabilities are subject to myths or misunderstandings about their differences. Further, the job of DCP does require a certain level of capability and confidence.
That said, many who come to ACR Homes with no related experience find their perceptions quickly change for the better, and thanks to our comprehensive training they can be comfortable with their roles within days. Some even get inspired to pursue lifelong careers in improving healthcare or otherwise helping people with disabilities.
University of Minnesota medical school student Madison Duppenthaler says she felt transformed after working as an ACR direct care professional (and later as a mentor for new hires).
“My perspective and awareness for people with any sort of impairment reached a whole new level of understanding,” she remembers. “Everyone, no matter their abilities, can accomplish anything they put their minds to if given the right tools and support to do it. I loved being a part of their support team as they got to experience life as it should be experienced, doing the things they enjoy the most.”
Jordan Crosser Buckellew, a former ACR DCP, had a similar experience. “(My clients) turned me from a scared 18-year-old design student into a confident advocate for the special needs community,” she explains. “My time at ACR … is composed of these moments: Raw emotion, joy, frustration, admiration, sorrow, trust and love.”
Improving lives: A day in the life of a DCP
So what will your workflow be like as a direct care professional with ACR? Here are some elements you can expect:
- You’ll take a variety of actions to assure your clients’ physical comfort, according to individualized plans based on the client’s personal goals and health issues. That may involve picking up, administering, monitoring and documenting meds and treatments; assisting with dressing and hygiene; helping clients eat; performing housecleaning tasks; transporting clients and other responsibilities. “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,” recalls former employee Tiffany Hansen.
- You may help residents participate in a range of fun activities, including onsite games, events and holiday celebrations and/or offsite trips. Excursions may involve trips to shopping centers, exercise facilities, restaurants, churches, recreational sites, animal centers, fishing spots or family homes. “The longer you spend with residents, the easier it becomes to learn what they’re asking/feeling,” notes University of Minnesota student Teagan Schnell, who initiated a client’s trip to a horse therapy facility as part of her internship.
- You’ll learn how to listen to, support, solve problems for and seek cooperation from people who display a wide range of attitudes and behaviors. “I gained skills in teamwork, creative problem solving, dealing with stress and resilience,” reports Cory M., a former ACR employee who’s now a medical school resident. “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.”
- You’ll develop new relationships and benefit from the intrinsic reward of helping your residents lead better lives. “I can feel on a daily basis what I mean to them and their families,” says Tim Harriger, who has worked at ACR longer than 20 years. “I feel how important I am to them and their well-being, and I smile every time they refer to me as a friend.”
Interested in learning more? ACR is always interested in hearing from kind, smart, capable people who want to help those with disabilities live better lives. We hire really great people, and we provide them with really great training. Apply today!