Cheryl Skelcher reflects on how working as a PSW helped her transition into NASM role

Riverview Manor

Riverview Manor

She also credits OMNI for encouraging staff to pursue educational initiatives

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – Cheryl Skelcher says working as a personal support worker (PSW) at Riverview Manor for 13 years helped her transition well into becoming the Peterborough long-term care home’s nursing administrative service manager (NASM).

Skelcher has worked at Riverview Manor since March 2002. She worked as a PSW until July 2015, when she was promoted to the NASM position.

Skelcher says OMNI Health Care encourages front-line staff members to continuously educate themselves and learn new skills, and this support also helped her transition into a management position.

During the time she was a PSW, Skelcher completed several training programs and took computer courses to upgrade her skills.

“I think that, even as a PSW, I knew that OMNI was always encouraging education and I was always learning something,” she says. “As a PSW, I did lots of extra things through OMNI and I think knowing this stuff is huge.”

But she says the most important skills she learned came from working on the floor because it gave her first-hand knowledge of the challenges PSWs and nurses face as well as how to deal with those challenges.

For example, on days when nurses or PSWs are short-staffed, it’s Skelcher’s responsibility to find team members to fill in. Having worked on the floor, she knows the challenges that come into play when people call in sick or are away, so she’ll work extra hard to find someone to work.

Having been Riverview Manor’s NASM for 15 months, Skelcher says the greatest learning curve has been figuring out what to prioritize each day, something she has managed to do well with support from her colleagues.

“I felt I always thought quick on the floor, because you have things you need to do all the time, but when the phone is ringing and you’re looking for a PSW to work the day shift, trying to keep everything organized (can be challenging),” she says.

Still, Skelcher says feels the pull of her old job sometimes.

“I have a hard time staying at my desk sometimes because I still want to go out to the floor and help out,” she says.

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