Tell me a little about yourself – your background and your education.
I graduated from Pendleton Heights and was an adult student at Anderson University graduating in 1993 with a degree in Social Work.
How long have you worked for Aspire?
I’ve been with Aspire for 21 years.
What positions have you held with Aspire?
I worked residential for six months, moved to the inpatient unit as the inpatient Case Manager for 16 years, and then transferred to the Access Department in 2009.
Describe your current position, including your responsibilities?
I am Supervisor of the Access Department. I oversee the daily running of the Access/Call Center. The Call Center is located in Anderson at the Brown Street location. We take calls from first time clients who want to start treatment, and from previous clients who want to re-engage in treatment. We gather demographic information and presenting problems for the client. In order to schedule a client, the needs to complete an intake packet, provide proof of income to determine if the client is eligible for a sliding fee scale, and a picture ID. Once that information is provided, Access will schedule an intake with a clinician to determine treatment recommendations for the client. Aspire also offers access to a portal so the client can complete their paperwork online. Clients can also use the portal to ask questions and schedule appointments for doctors and therapists.
What does a typical day as Supervisor of the Access Services look like?
Busy, busy. Staffing and scheduling clients. I review the daily call sheets to ensure Aspire is the appropriate treatment facility. We work closely with Aspire’s Crisis department to schedule urgent intakes within 7 days. Urgent intakes are people who have contacted Crisis who may have been on an inpatient unit or having thoughts of self harm due to depression or other mental health issues. My door is open to my staff to discuss difficult situations or clients. The call center receives over 2,000 calls monthly. My job is to monitor the portal to ensure clients’ questions are answered, and the clients are scheduled for intakes after their paperwork is completed.
What in your educational background and work experience prepared you for your current position?
My internship at the Anderson Center through the Center for Mental Health, volunteer experiences at AU, and my employment with Cardinal Services (MR/DD group home) helped prepare me for my position on the inpatient unit, and for my current position. It prepared me to deal with crisis and difficult situations, and to remain calm. I truly enjoyed working as a team with the doctors, nurses, and staff while on the inpatient unit, and this has carried over in my current position.
If you weren’t working in this field, what would you be doing?
I have been a hairdresser since 1971, and have continued that work on a part-time basis. I consider that job as my therapy, a way to relax and be creative.
What is it that drew you to the field of mental health?
Helping people was the goal. I came from a dysfunctional family with addiction issues, and realized you can only help those who are motivated to change.
What impact do you feel your work has had on Aspire and its clients?
I think it has been a positive impact for Aspire and the clients. I have always been respectful and kind to clients and my co-workers. Attitude has a lot to do with how you present yourself, and remaining positive helps to create a work environment that people enjoy.
What things do you do to help you cope with the demands of your job?
Not to take things personally and to keep the communication lines open. I enjoy my PTO time by traveling when possible, spending time with family and my three Yorkshire Terriers.
Nancy Walker is the Supervisor of Access Services at Aspire Indiana. While the beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Ms. Walker, you can learn more about Aspire Indiana at https://www.facebook.com/AspireIndiana.