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An Open-Heart Leads Inmate’s to Success in the Outside World

Happy June! The beginning of a new month means another spotlight, but this month we are changing it up and spotlighting a candidate from our Allied Professionals division. June marks the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer, so we thought it only made sense to spotlight someone who radiates optimism, positivity, encouragement and the ability to lead with an open heart. Without further ado, please welcome Jessica!

Howdy Jessica!

Jessica originally joined our Allied Professionals division back in 2017 working as a per diem Medical Case Worker at a hospital in Southern California. She’s been in the healthcare field for a total of eight years with three and a half years being a medical caseworker. Currently, she’s on assignment at a local jail facility as a caseworker serving inmates to ensure they have proper support, access to resources and opportunity to move forward after their release from jail.

Jessica’s inspiration for pursuing a career in the healthcare field came when she was a little girl. “When I was younger, my aunt had bipolar disorder,” Jessica explained, “she would sometimes forget or wouldn’t take her medication. As a little girl, all I wanted to do was help my aunt and figure out how to help her.” Since then, Jessica completed her studies in psychology at her university, worked at a rehab center straight out of college and proceeded to work at a crisis center surrounding children with behavior problems. 

As a medical caseworker, her responsibilities mainly include assessing the client, linking the client to services before release and making sure the client receives said services after release. Jessica compared her work to those who work in the social work field, “so you have to have an open heart to deal with these types of situations.” Some of the services the jail offers include housing, medical help/assistance such as drug or alcohol abuse services, access to clinics, food and more. However, with all the services available, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easily accessible and guaranteed.

“LA County has one of the largest homeless populations and a major lack of homeless housing,” Jessica exclaimed, “there is a big fear of not being able to find your client housing and because of that, some may slip through the cracks. We are dealing with people who do not have access to a cell phone either and we may lose contact with them after being released for x amount of days.”

LA County officials estimated in 2019 the number for the homeless population to be roughly 58,936, which is a 12 percent increase from 2018 (36,300). According to a Forbes article, the city of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County has the second-highest number of people experiencing homelessness in 2019. One could imagine what Jessica and other fellow medical caseworkers experience when trying to provide the necessary services to recently released inmates but lack proper funding or resources – it’s not easy.

Besides battling the homeless population housing crisis, Jessica tackles daily challenges like communication with the sheriff’s office or handling the passing of inmates with compassion and reassurance. “When I first meet a client, I found the more honest you are with them then they will be honest with you,” Jessica explained, “and reassuring them that ‘we are here for them.’”

Communication plays a huge role in success for the inmates and the sheriff’s department. For someone who works with inmates, it’s important to have clear and concise instructions between the sheriff’s office when handling incoming and outgoing inmates. Additionally, having the patience to understand people come from different backgrounds and perspectives has helped Jessica transition into her current role. She recognizes this role and the roles before have helped shape her into a humbler person.  

“We are all going through something and we all need a bit of help at some point.”

During Jessica’s spare time outside of the cold walls of jail (and outside of COVID-19), she enjoys a good book, writing, traveling, driving through the canyons nearby her home in the San Fernando Valley, hitting the beach, relaxing out back in her backyard or practicing her passion for dance! With the global pandemic, she’s found alternative means to keep her busy like reigniting her passion for entrepreneurship by re-starting her own business, learning about digital marketing, sales, and e-commerce, and getting her certification as a personal trainer, to name a few.

Although Jessica shines on her own, every great humanitarian would be nothing without the support they receive from loved ones or even colleagues. Hana, Jessica’s recruiter here at KPG Healthcare, has been with Jessica since the beginning of her journey in California and Hana has fought tooth and nail for what Jessica deserves for her assignments. Hana has been accommodating, transparent, trustworthy and a real advocate for Jessica – whenever and wherever.

On behalf of everyone here at KPG Healthcare, we want to say thank you for continuing your passion to help others and for allowing yourself to lead with an open-heart in everything you do. Your optimism and love for what you do are noticed and recognized. Keep up all the fantastic work you do and please be safe!

Jessica’s Dream Travel Destination: The Caribbean, Italy, Israel, Thailand

Advice for anyone interested in healthcare:

  1. Make sure it’s something you want to do. It takes a person with an open heart to take on this job.
  2. Be prepared for the unexpected.
  3. Recognize that every day isn’t the same.
  4. This job is rewarding if you put in the effort
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Tips & Tricks for Improving Your Mental Health During COVID-19

KPG Healthcare shares tips & tricks for improving your mental health during COVID-19.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s so important now than ever to take a moment and check-in with yourself. Mental health is equally important as your physical health and considering the circumstances of this virus, you should be conscious of both. The majority of Americans have been in lockdown since the end of March leaving us without the ability to practice our normal self-care routine/rituals that could include visiting friends/loved ones, exercising at a gym, hiking, catching a movie, eating out or even retail therapy.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, KPG Healthcare wanted to share some helpful tips and tricks on how you can manage your mental health during COVID-19.

Tip #1: Breathe/Meditate

In times of stress, it’s always important to remember to breathe. Taking a minute or two to take some deep breaths will help calm your nerves and allow you to refocus your energy on tasks that matter. Practicing daily meditation provides many benefits like reducing anxiety, enhancing self-awareness, promotes emotional health, reducing stress and more.

There are many ways to meditate too! Some like to practice yoga with their meditation, there are helpful apps like HeadSpace or Insight Time that provide guided meditation (some require in-app purchasing) or simply finding a quiet space free from distractions.

Tip #2: Exercise

There is no doubt that exercising has many benefits not only for your physical health but your mental health as well. Studies have shown that exercise can help treat mild to moderate depression, relieves tension and stress through the release of endorphins, relax your muscles for any tension in your body, increasing your self-esteem, increasing your energy levels, and so much more.

Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean heavy weight lifting or 20 mile runs. Taking a walk through the neighborhood or doing jumping jacks is a great stepping stone into incorporating exercise into your life. Remember: everyone starts at square one and it can be easy to feel discouraged when you don’t see results, but don’t give up! Nothing in life comes easy but if you keep at it then there’s nothing you can’t do!

Tip #3: Pick up a new hobby

Finding or rediscovering a hobby is a great way to improve your mental health. Research has shown that people with hobbies rarely suffer from anxiety or depression because these activities will get us out, make us feel happier and more relaxed. Plus, who wouldn’t want to come out of lockdown with a new hobby to show off to your friends?

Check out this great article that breaks down how different hobbies can help different aspects of your mental health!

Tip #4: Plant Therapy

Plant therapy is not only another great hobby to incorporate into our lives but it’s a great way to help your mental health. There have been numerous studies showing how caring for plants (or even looking at plants) can reduce anxiety and provide a calming effect. Caring for plants allows us to have a sense of responsibility, feel connected with other living things besides humans, aid in relaxing and letting go of whatever is burdening us, release happy hormones and plants remind us to live in the present moment. Plants are also another great way to purify the air in your home!

Next time you’re at your local Home Depot or Lowe’s, make sure to take a stroll into the Garden Center and check out some of the great indoor/outdoor plants! Here’s a helpful guide/quiz for which houseplants to get!

Tip #5: Virtual Hangouts

With current lockdown restrictions and guidelines set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), we aren’t able to visit our friends or loved ones like before. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is impossible to see them.

With applications like Zoom or Houseparty, we can see our loved ones and connect with whenever we want. It’s important to check-in with your friends and family to see how they’re doing during this time but it’s also a great way to relieve whatever emotions you’re feeling. We are all going through some sort of lockdown and your loved ones will be there for you through thick and thin. Go call your mom!

Tip #6: Adopt a Fur Baby

Adopting a pet has many benefits, whether that be a dog, cat, hamster, rat, snake or a bird, pets are known to help alleviate stress, anxiety, depression and feelings of loneliness and social isolation. With COVID-19, some pet shelters are temporarily shutting down, leaving many animals without a home, but you are still able to adopt or foster!

Another study found that adopting a dog can increase your task performance, improve your self-esteem, keep us calm and can help keep you from going to the doctor! How amazing is that?! Go adopt a fur baby there are plenty of animals in need of a home!

There are a handful of ways to improve your mental health, but we hope you found some of our tips & tricks to be helpful during the COVID-19 lockdown. Whether you decide to take a walk, adopt a pet or buy a new plant, KPG Healthcare wants to make sure everyone remembers to take care of themselves. We will get through this difficult time as long as we look out for one another. Your mental health is important to us.

Please be safe.

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Recruiter by Day, Stand-Up Comedian by Night

Happy May!

It’s the beginning of a new month, which means it’s time for a Recruiter Spotlight! This month, we are focusing on someone from our Travel Nursing Division who’s been with KPG healthcare for about 2.5 years…that’s Dave! Keep scrolling to learn more about Dave.

Meet Dave!

Dave has been with KPG Healthcare for about 2.5 years and originally started in our Provider Service’s division staffing nurse practitioners and physicians throughout California. Within the first month, Dave had met all his recruitment goals, which led to his transfer to the Travel Nursing division.

Since the transition to the Travel Nursing division, Dave has enjoyed finding placements and assignments for his travel nurses alongside his fellow travel nursing recruiters. “I work with a lot of awesome people and it’s very much a family environment,” said Dave. One of the most rewarding aspects of his job is building meaningful relationships both with his coworkers and candidates.

However, healthcare staffing recruiters do have a challenging role. They are constantly searching for prospective candidates, vetting those prospective candidates, finding the right assignment for prospective and current candidates and repeating those steps when contracts end. “Even after you place a candidate, people are always coming and going,” Dave mentioned, “It’s a constant grind to keep filling new positions.” The best way to handle the ever-changing landscape of healthcare is to be adaptable and ready for anything.

With the novel COVID-19, or coronavirus, now circulating the globe, it’s made the healthcare industry “a lot more unpredictable,” said Dave. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the healthcare industry and the staffing needs that “once federal funding ran out, we saw positions dry up almost overnight,” Dave explained. Fortunately, for Dave, it means being ready for anything and always discussing a plan B for his candidates for scenarios like COVID-19.

“I wish for my nurses to get the awesome experiences they want out of their travel nursing career!”

As a recruiter, Dave hopes to continue growing his business and networking skills through KPG Healthcare. However, recruiting wasn’t his original passion, “I did not originally want to pursue a career in recruiting, but it’s a been a great learning experience on how to run a business,” said Dave. Dave’s passion lies in comedy.

Dave has been practicing and performing stand-up comedy for about two years now. “The energy you get from people after a successful set is really a great high,” Dave explained when asked about why comedy interested him. Besides comedy, Dave also enjoys hikes at Topanga Canyon, discovering new music and watching movies after a long week of work.

Dave, as the recipient of the first “Da Bomb” award for the Travel Nursing team, keep up the great work and continue to strive toward your goals both as a recruiter and a comedian! “Da Bomb” award is given to someone that exemplifies they can be a fun, flexible and reliable team player who goes above and beyond for their fellow teammates.

Dave’s Dream Travel Destination: Greece! For the history and beaches.

Dave’s Top 3 LA Things-To-Do:

  1. Go see a stand-up comedy show
  2. Hit the beaches of SoCal
  3. Hit all the awesome hiking spots (hint: Hollywood Dam is a great area for a photo of the Hollywood Sign)
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