Lakesha McDay has come a long way in her 22 years at Mission Health. Beginning in Environmental Services, she moved into administrative roles and then represented the hospital as a loaned executive with United Way. “That networking experience gave me confidence to continue moving forward in my career.”
Lakesha enrolled at UNC Asheville and moved into a different administrative role. “I eventually became recruitment coordinator with the HR department and today, I am Director for HR Strategy, Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity. I’ve had the opportunity to move up quickly within HR, working and trying to learn as much as possible along the way. I’ve enjoyed an interesting career here that I wouldn’t change for anything.”
Alexandra Tressler, RN, began her career at Mission in cardiovascular recovery and postop before making the move seven years later to home hospice care with CarePartners. Today, she provides nursing care to hospice patients at their homes in Transylvania County.
“These patients are very appreciative of the care they receive in their own homes,” says Alex, who visits several patients a day using her car as her traveling office and supply room. And home care offers the opportunity for building good relationships; “I even keep a box of Milk-Bones in my vehicle so I can win over people’s dogs!
“Each individual hospice patient’s goals are different. One person’s goal might be going outside and sitting on their back porch for an hour each day, while another person might be bed bound and have different goals. Home hospice is a challenging career that I absolutely love.”
Melina Arrowood embraces work challenges, from her career beginnings as a CNA 10 years ago, to ED nurse and patient safety officer, to a recent stint as interim president of Transylvania Regional Hospital. Today, she’s working on a master’s degree in business.
“Mission has opened many doors and continues to encourage me to move my career forward,” she says. “I’ve taken every opportunity to learn and grow. Mission has really helped me advance in my nursing career.”
Carl Witherspoon is RN Residency Coordinator at Mission Health, guiding new RN grads through a 12-month program that includes classes for training and enrichment. Mission Health welcomes many new nurses each year.
“Instead of being with experienced nurses in class settings, all new RNs are grouped with one another in a residency program, called a cohort,” Carl says. “There is a lot of hands-on training to get these nurses comfortable prior to working with actual patients. For example, they learn how to use IV pumps, how to do titrations with medications, and much more. Our new nurses are trained very well, and they are assisted every step along the way to ensure their success.”
Ben Napper is a busy young man these days. He is a specialist at the Mission Health Career Exploration Center, and he also wants to become a first-time homebuyer through the Mission Home Help program.
“The Career Exploration Center provides resources for any employee to work on their resume, learn about scholarships, pursue tuition reimbursement programs and much more,” Ben says. “I also communicate with high school students who might be interested in pursuing a healthcare career here in the western North Carolina region.”
As for his home-buying effort, the program has participants save $1,250 and then Mission adds $2,500 to help with the down payment on a house. The program includes required classes.
“The classes are fantastic. They feature advice from realtors, lenders, counselors, inspectors, closing attorneys and others who outline each step of the home-buying process. It makes purchasing your first house much less intimidating.”