My journey to discover my employment and internship with HCO began in my second year of classes at Winona State University. I was in crisis mode – I was thinking that my previously declared nursing major wasn’t right for me, but I was still so passionate about the healthcare field. I discovered Public Health from a classmate of mine, which is a field of healthcare that focuses on the health and wellness of the community and the prevention of disease spread. I also had an interest in Human Resource Management and Business so I decided to declare HR my major and Public Health my minor. This made me feel better, knowing I could study both fields that I had a strong interest in.

I was also searching for a CNA job at the time. I had been working as a CNA in my hometown nursing home for 2 years, but I could not travel home as often to maintain employment with them. My roommate had recently started at HCO, and she told me that the job duties were similar and that I should apply. I began working as a Direct Support Professional and have since worked at a few different programs in the agency. I had only ever worked in a nursing home before and did not have experience in a group home, so I was eager to learn more.

I was so happy that I was able to keep up my skills in medication administration, assistance in activities of daily living, and documentation. Not only is it rewarding, but every day is an adventure “working” with the individuals. Through my time being a DSP, I’ve taken so many nature walks, rollerblading trips around Lake Winona, thrifting trips to Goodwill, and lunch outings. I’ve also gotten the reminder to enjoy the little things like watching the various animals visit the bird feeder, catching my first fish, playing with water guns in the backyard, and learning all there is to know about Elvis and WWE wrestlers. The individuals that I’ve spent so much time learning, teaching, and growing with have turned into a second family that I’ll never forget!

During my senior year, I began looking for a Human Resources internship, so I decided to apply within the agency I already know and love. HR Coordinator, Madeline Hoesley, set up a phone interview with me and I was offered the opportunity to come to learn under her. Being a current employee for HCO made the decision to choose HCO (and the transition into my new role) easy, and that was just the relief I needed as I managed the stress of my senior year. During the 3 months I spent in the Human Resource department, I learned many different HR practices and skills, was invited to HR meetings, learned more about the role of the Recruitment and Retention Coordinator and the Director of Licensing and Policy, and was able to demonstrate and reflect on the knowledge I’ve gained in the WSU College of Business. I was able to work on my communication skills and professionalism, which has been a long-term goal of mine. My internship has given me the feeling of preparedness for a career in Human Resources and the knowledge to get my foot in the door.

I’ll always be grateful for this internship and to the individuals I’ve had the opportunity to serve at HCO!