OSF Home Care Services — Staff training is right up her alley

ESCANABA – When it comes to finding and training the right people for the positions at OSF Home Care Services, Staff Development Coordinator and Educator Nicole Dahl said the job is right up her alley.

Dahl received her nursing degree from Northern Michigan University and has worked at OSF Home Care the past three years. Although she enjoys hands-on nursing, her special skills on the computer and her aptitude for organization make her a shoo-in as development coordinator.

“I have specialized training as an infusionist, but I was chosen for this job because I’m really good at the computer and received on-the-job training in documenting and charting and teaching the functions of how this program works,” she said.

Dahl has become particularly useful to the agency after OSF Home Care changed to a new electronic medical record in early 2013. She began training on the system and obtained her credentials.

“Anyone who is coordinated into the OSF system has access to our medical list and medical centers and we have access to theirs,” Dahl explained. “This improves the quality of care. Before we had to fax information on paper or call for information. Now everything is electronic so we can see a head-to-toe body assessment, including wound photos. Now we can see the needs firsthand.”

In her job as trainer, Dahl said her biggest challenge is working with multiple individuals, some of whom are on different levels of understanding and with different styles of procedure.

“Some are slower learners than others,” she said. “Some are unsure of themselves and question everything they do.”

Dahl said her standard procedure is to, not only assess the trainees development level, but to find out the benefits to the training that each expects.

“I want to figure out what everyone’s goals are before I even start,” she said. “Is there something about them that I can cover in class or can I supply information or training in a different style. Some are list oriented and they need special direction. Others are more creative and form their own way of doing things. Some need interpersonal instruction and need contact with each other. Others need their feelings justified before they move on. Some are a combination. But my goal is to help them do the best they can do to arrive at their goals.”

Dahl said she appreciates the opportunity that OSF Home Care has afforded to her.

“Since coming here, it has helped me become a better instructor and to be more personal,” she said. “I never know what others have experienced, particularly if they have never had the experience of being connected with other systems.”

Listening to Dahl, it’s obvious that her heart is in helping others, not only the patients she has come into contact with, but the nurses and other medical personnel she trains.

“What I love about nursing training is watching their ability to make improvements in their patient care,” she said. “I love helping them come up with resources to make their nursing care even better. I love watching them ‘get it’ when they are able to overcome a difficulty.”

Home care offers opportunities for the medical staff to have greater interaction with their patients and their families.

“The staff actually goes into the homes and becomes part of their family and that’s important,” she said. “Some patients don’t have close family or family close by. The nurses and therapists become their families. They (patients) give them cookies and share recipes with them. They sit and look at family photos with them and get very close to them. It’s so rewarding and I wish we had more time with them but it’s difficult because many see as many as six patients a day.”

Despite her love of nursing, Dahl said she wouldn’t trade her position in the OSF program.

“I miss the actual patient care,” she stated, “but I feel this is the place for me to be.”