Promoting Excellence from the Classroom to Direct Support Work

I am Liberty Story: Promoting Excellence From the Classroom to Direct Support Work. Melissa Ethan and Kaitlin Kretser with the people they support at Liberty ARC.

Teachers have state certifications, and nurses have licensure exams they have to pass – but what about Direct Support Professionals? How do you measure proficiency in the many areas that DSP’s touch every day?  The National Alliance For Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) is pioneering a DSP credentialing program, and Liberty ARC is excited to be a part of it.

“This program is a way to strengthen your knowledge to become the best Direct Support Professional you can be. That’s why I decided to apply for the E-Badges Program through the NADSP,” Kaitlin Kretser said. “Along with furthering my knowledge and supportive skills that I perform daily, this is another way for me to get more of an understanding about the people I support, the challenges they may face, and how to provide the best supports and care to counteract any issues.”

Kaitlin, an Assistant Hab Specialist 2 at Liberty ARC, is among the agency’s first cohort participating in NADSP E-Badges Academy. As a member of NADSP, Liberty ARC has been provided with the opportunity for direct care staff to earn credentials through the e-badges program. E-Badges are specific modules with lessons, 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.

“I love learning and when I saw an opportunity to expand my knowledge through the e-badges program, I knew I had to take it,” said Melissa Ethan, an Assistant Manager at Liberty ARC, who is also among the cohort. “I have completed my DSP-I level, and it has already added so much value and skills that I am now bringing to the table every day at work to benefit the people I support.”

The E-Badges Academy is 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. Kaitlin just recently completed the DSP-II level.

As full-time employees and with the support of Liberty ARC’s NADSP support team, Kaitlin and Melissa have set goals and found a schedule that suits them both to be successful.

“I’ve been open-minded throughout as to not be discouraged and to strive to be the best I can be,” Kaitlin said. “As I’ve explored and completed courses and badges, I’ve felt very successful and happy when they’re approved. Liberty’s NADSP support team definitely made it known that they were there if any questions or concerns were needed.”

Some of the e-badge courses both Liberty ARC staff members have completed include self-care, friendships, self-advocate ally, person-centered thinking, self-reflection, medication administration, individual; activities, crisis intervention, first aid, code of ethics commitment, and household management.

The next class of DSP’s enrolling in E-Badges is slated to start in the fall. For more information, contact Sarah Stygles, Organization Development Manager, at 518-954-3242 or stygless@libertyarc.org

Above pictured from left to right is Melissa and Kaitlin.

Click HERE to discover what job opportunities await at Liberty ARC!

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