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Sep 2021

Creating Career Opportunities

By: James Williams    332 0

Entry-level career opportunities at Christian Hospital  are combined with BJC’s $15 hourly minimum wage to provide a sustainable living income for  those positions, which are essential to our patient care services.

Getting a foot in the door to find that dream job is only an application away at Christian Hospital. Entry-level opportunities such as a patient care tech or positions in the Laboratory, Environmental Services, Food and Nutrition Services, Patient Support Services and Patient Access have all been starting points for countless team members who have advanced to successful and fulfilling careers in a variety of areas including Nursing, Emergency Medical Services and Surgical Services.

CoKeisha Van Hook, RN, BSN, OCN, had her mind set on being either a nurse or educator since she was a little girl when she arrived at Christian Hospital in 2000 at a friend’s urging to apply for a patient care tech position. “I chose nursing because you’re always educating with nurses,” says Van Hook. “So, there I was sitting in new employee orientation after being hired, fresh out of high school and wondering how I am going to pay for nursing school, when tuition reimbursement was mentioned,” recalls CoKeisha. “A light bulb went off in my head, and I went home that day and started researching area colleges.”

Van Hook went on to complete nursing school and receive her bachelor’s degree in nursing using BJC tuition reimbursement for both, combined with a $5,000 BJC nursing undergraduate scholarship in recognition of her professional and academic achievements. She found her calling in oncology patient care, where she has held various leadership roles and has mentored countless others over the past two decades. “I’m very goal-oriented and that extends to the individuals that I mentor,” says Van Hook. “I encourage them and all staff that I’m onboarding to have short-term and long-term goals because I want to help them achieve both.” That mindset to help new hires achieve their goals is consistent across the hospital’s leadership team.

“From the onset of the interview for entry-level positions, we can actually start to help connect those individuals once hired with other areas within the hospital that they’ve already expressed an interest to explore for career opportunities,” says Drew Danczyk, Patient Support Services supervisor. “Many of our patient transporters start here with the goal of getting a foot in the door to become an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), and our Christian Hospital EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Academy (CHEMS) provides the training ground. BJC tuition reimbursement makes it possible for them to work while getting their training and have their education paid for.”

Giuseppe Williams did just that when he started at Christian Hospital as a transporter and was able to complete the CHEMS Academy EMT program using tuition reimbursement before transferring to EMS as a new EMT. He now is registered for the academy’s paramedic program. 

“I always wanted to work in EMS because it’s always been a passion to help people. Transport was perfect because you’re dealing with patients learning some of the stuff you need for EMS with patient transport,” says Williams. “I felt like I had  an advantage over others just starting in EMS because I was already brought into  it with patient care and what I had learned as a transporter.”

There’s also a major advantage to advancing entry-level staff into higher positions. “They already understand our BJC CREST values, our expectations and our mission and are committed to it, otherwise they wouldn’t be here,” points out Shannon Watson, assistant chief of Christian EMS. “With the CREST values, we know they’re expected to have compassion, be respectful and empathetic, provide excellent care and practice safety. They understand that safety is a priority for BJC and Christian Hospital, as well as teamwork, so we already know they’re on board with our values and that they believe in us, plus they’re committed. And once you’ve been here for a certain amount of time, you’re vested in our benefits, including a pension and a 401k match — the sky's really the limit on the offerings of BJC benefits. I think people see that and they want to grow within that.”

Jazz Earvin ended up finding her dream job at Christian Hospital as a tech in the Central Sterilization Processing Department (CSPD) within Surgical Services after starting in Food and Nutrition Services as a cafeteria cashier and exploring a career in EMS. She initially thought the EMT role was for her and entered the CHEMS Academy. “Once I started my clinicals, I realized maybe being an EMT wasn’t for me, but I did complete the program before transferring to this department. I got that education that nobody can take away from me, and tuition reimbursement made it possible. Christian Hospital gave me the opportunity to discover these different options and find the right fit for me.” Since joining CSPD, Jazz has earned her certification as CSPD tech and received two promotions.

Ashea Loggins was a PCT for two and a half years and was looking for a change, but knew she wanted to stay in patient care. “I would see flyers posted for the EMS Academy and decided to give it a try,” says Loggins. “It’s a five-month program with advanced courses, I completed the program, and I studied and worked hard to pass my state boards. It was quite a journey because I was literally working a full-time job, maintaining three kids, paying bills, doing clinicals, going to school — and it was a relief once I got certified.” She was soon thereafter hired as an EMT and is now a field training officer instructing new EMT hires on how to do things the CHEMS right way from the start.

“We’ve had really good success with advancing entry-level staff, and all of our employee transfers are people who are committed and driven,” says Watson. “Christian Hospital is a place where dreams really can come true.”

Get more information on entry level or other career opportunities at Christian Hospital.

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