A Passion For Education at Liberty ARC
Bethany Nitsky, a Direct Support Professional Awake Night staff member, is a part of Liberty ARC’s second cohort enrolled in the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) E-Badges Academy. Recently, she completed her DSP-III credentialing, which is the highest DSP credential one can receive through the academy.
“I am always interested in gaining knowledge on a topic that will give me skills to become more helpful, useful, and able to provide the best possible services to the people I support – and also to be a better mother to my children with developmental disabilities,” said Bethany.
As a member of NADSP, Liberty ARC provides the opportunity for direct care staff to earn credentials through the e-badges program. E-Badges are specific online learning modules with a comprehension component and a practical application component. Each E-Badge earned challenges the DSP taking the module to expand their knowledge and apply it in situations with the people they support.
The E-Badges Academy leads to a nationally-recognized credential with three different levels (DSP-I, DSP-II, DSP-III). NADSP is one of the nation’s leading Direct Support Professional (DSP) associations, promoting excellence in direct support work.
While courses were heavily targeted for direct support work, Bethany said that many of the courses are also helpful in everyday life and at home with her children.
“The course work was really enjoyable, it was not overwhelming, and the tests were manageable,” Bethany said. “For me the whole experience was extremely rewarding, and you get immediate feedback from the courses. It’s nice that it’s broken up into three levels. I am really proud of my accomplishment. It was work, but I enjoy all the aspects of learning new things.”
Classes on communication were very beneficial for Bethany. The classes focused on better understanding of others, providing quality care and behavior supports, adjusting one’s behavior to have a person-centered approach, and removing roadblocks in order for the people supported to reach the goals that mattered to them.
“There were many classes that I enjoyed taking, especially those that were interactive,” Bethany said. “There was one on conflict management and resolution, as well escalation in behavior and what supports can be put in place to calm the situation down. Those were every helpful to give you the hands-on tactical skills, so that you are prepared going into different situations and have the tools for de-escalation. I would watch skits to see what to do and not to do. They allowed me to put myself in that position, step back, and think what doesn’t work and what is most effective. I love a critical reflection time.”
Bethany advised all DSPs to take advantage of this learning opportunity when it is presented to them, including those that work the Awake Night shifts.
“You are whatever you put the effort into being,” Bethany said. “I have always been the type of staff member that when I walk into the homes, certain people would stay up and we do things together and bond. Then in the morning, I am helping people get ready for appointments and day program. No matter what, this job is all inclusive. And for me this learning was a part of that. I think it’s something all DSPs can benefit from, no matter where (what site) you are working at or on what shift. It will make us better service providers, more compassionate and more caring individuals. In this field we are in, that is what it is all about. There is such a benefit for truly being a professional in this job. This certification is a tangible way of saying I am a professional and I am credentialed.”
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