Alison Schlosser knew she wanted a career in the medical field. She just wasn’t sure what specific career path to pursue. As she was graduating from the University of Minnesota in 2013 she was trying to decide between becoming a physician’s assistant or pursuing a nursing career. She wanted to do some shadowing to see which was the best fit for her, so she applied to work for ACR as a direct care professional. She writes,
I started out part-time and had some day availability, so I got to go to a lot of resident appointments where I was able to work directly with MDs, PA-Cs, and NPs. From there, I decided to work full-time with ACR and was promoted to be a RSA (residential supervisor assistant.) This position allowed me to attend more appointments and to work directly with the interdisciplinary team as well as with ACR’s nursing team for clarifications and orders.
My decision to pursue nursing
After I was in this role for a while, I realized that the nursing model fit my idea of care the best. I liked the fact that nurses could spend more time getting to know patients/residents and that they provide continuous care past a diagnosis and testing. This was my idea of perfect healthcare. I worked a lot with the ACR RN who was assigned to the house I helped supervise, and we spent a great deal of time talking about the nursing profession. She told me about her path to nursing and it was like she was reading my mind.
The ultimate confirmation of nursing came to me when one of the residents was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure for the second time. The whole process from diagnosis to starting dialysis to getting him evaluated to be on the transplant list was pivotal. I spent a lot of time with him in clinic and tried my best to advocate for his plan of care. I took time to ensure MDs understood that he deserved the same treatment the doctor or I would expect, despite his medical disability. This process of advocating for my residents/patients ultimately led to my decision to start applying to nursing school.
An internship researching kidney failure
I also realized I wanted to learn more about kidney failure, the point of a restricted diet and all the laboratory work, and how dialysis works. I decided to start an ACR internship researching these topics and finding ways to improve my resident’s quality of life despite his kidney failure. He was averaging 12 hours per week at dialysis and I made it my goal to help him make the most of that time with activities and conversation. The internship was not only educational, but it taught me how to be a better staff and also taught me that consistency is key.
Being a full-time staff helped me clarify my nursing career path
I realize that being a full-time staff gave me the time and experience to clarify my career path. I am happy to say that I have just begun an Accelerated BSN program at Denver School of Nursing. More importantly, my working full-time allowed the residents I supported to have a stable, consistent caregiver in their ever-changing lives. I was able to support them through difficulties they faced including the death of a parent and various medical challenges.
Working for ACR as a full-time staff was more than a career for me. It taught me that life is too short to not love going to work every day! It also taught me concepts that will be educationally useful in my nursing program and it taught me compassion. As a supervisor, I was able to help other staff work through challenges. I was also able to help my RS be successful, and I was able to discern my life goals by serving residents of ACR.
—Alison Schlosser, Direct Care Professional, ACR Home on Fox Run Bay