I started out fresh out of High School working as a roofer for Fleetwood Homes of America. The construction industry was at that time in an economic decline at the plant was eventually shut down and never reopened. Over 300 hundred people were displaced from a job. The work was very hard heavy labor although looking back I was probably the most physically fit I have ever been in my life. I jumped around a few jobs after that working in a furniture manufacturing plant and then as a Class B CDL Driver/Warehouse Dock worker. In the course of these positions I was injured and had to spend a couple days in the Hospital. The CNA's and other staff left a deep impression on me and I really wanted to work in a clinical setting someday but I also lacked confidence in my abilities. My first brush with health care was when, out of work, I applied for a position working as an advocate for people with disabilities for an MR/DD Alternative to Work program. It blew my mind at the time that there jobs actually existed where all you did was pick people up from their homes and spend the day going to parks, movies, activities, walk around the mall, and still got paid as much as I did doing physical labor. There was also a certain amount of respect that people gave you which was desirable. This all happened back in the late 1990's when government funding for social programs was at it's peak. My wage at that time was $10.80/hour when minimum wage was $4.75-5.80/hour. Looking back, the 90's was pretty awesome for social work. i actually got paid $100.00 cash just for showing up for an interview one time - recruitment for qualified applicants for MR/DD programs was high and there was a lot of competition at the time for staff with companies offering Direct Care Professionals good benefits and perks. This was also the time when the Forever Home concept was in it's infancy and just starting to get implemented. I worked for a number of MR/DD group homes serving that populace before at the peak of my career in that field I landed a job as a Habilitative Training Tech II for the State Operated Community Program, DHS, State of Oregon. I loved the position, but it was hired on as a temp for 6 months. I decided to make the leap and applied and accepted a position at an ALF/RCF. I started out there as a NA and then was promoted to MA. They also paid my way through a Basic Nursing Assistant program at a local community college and I received my BNA certificate and then took the OSBN CNA 1 exam and became a CNA1. I was then later promoted to the position of Resident Care Coordinator for the facility. I love working with people in geriatrics. The stories!, the History! the Characters!. I found my niche in the world and in this career path and have now served as the Shift Lead/Nurse Supervisor for a couple of ALF's, but my passion is actually in Hospice work. I decided early on that I did not desire to be a RN. To be honest, my math skills are a barrier due to a learning disability that I was diagnosed with. However, I decided that I could be the best nurse support staff I could be and in that regard, due to my knowledge and experience, I have always commanded top wages within my field and have thus supported my family very well through out the years. I went back to school and later got my CNA2 (acute and dementia), HHA, and then struggled through the CMA program but made it. Working as the RSC/RCC in facilities is a very dynamic position with interaction from residents, their families, staff, outside vendors, and Healthcare Professionals requiring strong inter-personal and communication skills, flexibility, the ability to coordinate and multi-task. My day is never the same. I work on the floor providing personal care and assistance with ADL's. I train staff and run daily meetings. I pass medications, implement Physician Orders, am delegated for skilled nursing task's such as d/c folley caths, adm injections, and wound care. I coordinate resident care with outside healthcare professionals and tasked with making sure residents are receiving quality care. I perform MAR audits, cycle med fills and review, clarify orders and make sure that residents are receiving quality medication management. I handle resident and family complaints, address the issues and implement plans of correction. I have two bosses that I report to: the Facility RN and the Community Manager (we do not have a DON or the classic Nursing Hierarchy - I am technically third in command after the RN and second after the Community Manager with my next logical promotion being the Community Manager (who is also the RN's boss). Wages are good where are work - the average CNA/PCA makes $15 an hour and my position pays up to $22 an hour. We have good benefits and perks. Overall, I am very satisfied with my position and love what I do. Just for those who are wondering, I am employed for a facility that specializes in Memory Care and is Private Pay Only - we do not accept Medicaid/Medicare which is why our staff are paid such high wages. The average resident pays $10,000/a month for services with the highest being $15,000/a month. We are a very high tech, upscale facility.