Mitch Tiedke heard about ACR two years ago when he switched to a pre-PA program in his junior year at the University of Minnesota. He had a friend who worked for ACR and it sounded like a good opportunity to gain patient care experience, so he applied at ACR and got hired.
PA schools generally look for 1000-2000 hours of patient care experience, which works out to an average of 20 hours a week for 12 to 24 months. For Mitch, “average” works out to about 64 hours a week during the fall when staffing turnover leaves a lot of open shifts, and lots of flexibility at other times of the year. He’s proven he can work mega hours when he needs to, but Mitch makes it clear that for now he wants to continue part-time. He like the flexibility to take time off as needed and to go on trips, like the six-week trip he took to Europe last spring after graduation.
A wide range of experience
Another advantage Mitch discovered in covering lots of open shifts last fall was that he gained a much wider range of patient care experience. He works two shifts a week at his base home, then he goes online to pick up additional shifts through ACR’s open shift website or through their Facebook group. As a result, he gained experience in at least ten different group home settings and with nearly 40 clients. Mitch says he’s grown more comfortable with a range of clients and needs and he’s built up strong relationships with the people he supports. “That makes work more enjoyable and I know that I’m providing good care for them, ” says Mitch. In the process, he also gained experience with a wider range of medical conditions and behavioral styles.
Now, almost two years into his career at ACR, Mitch has over 2000 hours of patient care hours and a wide range of experience. He says he enjoys the variety and flexibility at ACR. In addition to providing direct care, he is also an on-campus recruiter for ACR, and he’s applying to be a residential coordinator assisting in overseeing two ACR group homes. He’s also in training to be an instructor for new hires, and is just beginning pre-PA internship with ACR. Mitch comments, “I’ve had other PCA work opportunities, but the thing about ACR that I really like is that this company has shown the most care for the people they support. They encourage relationship building and that kind of thing, which is not as prevalent in other companies.” He adds, “I think that will carry over nicely to my future in a patient care profession.” He plans to start the PA school admission process this summer.
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