Executive Director Fosters A Positive Environment

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What do you want to be when you grow up? And if you’re doing it, what did you do to get there? How did you know it’s right for you?

The number of opportunities after graduation feels limitless to many students. But opportunity can also feel daunting. How do you know that your passion and abilities will translate to the real world? For many students, that answer lies not in the classroom, but in the community, where it takes the form of internships, research, service learning, and global and leadership opportunities.

It’s through these activities, dubbed Experiential Learning, that students are exposed to people and circumstances different than their own and through which they discover the relevance of learning – and more about themselves.

Public health alumna Aubree Olmstead, BS ’15, experienced this firsthand. In her final term, she completed a required 360-hour internship at Columbia Basin Care, a skilled nursing facility in The Dalles, about a half hour from where she grew up in Hood River.

For Aubree, the internship wasn’t just another box to check. “I looked at it as a chance to see if I liked the field and to hone in on my skill set.”

“I tell students to be open to all possibilities,” says Karen Elliott, who teaches a pre-internship course and assists in helping students find internships throughout the state and sometimes internationally. “When you stop thinking about a grade or credits and ask yourself, ‘What do I want to do?,  you discover amazing things about yourself, what fuels your fire and what gets you going.”

Aubree took that advice. The first Beaver alum in her family, she also credits professors and instructors, including Karen, who brought their passion and real-world experience to the classroom.

A little over halfway through her internship at Columbia Basin, Aubree was offered an Administrator in Training (AIT) position – 960 hours of training under the supervision of a preceptor – with the understanding that she would become administrator after completion. During that time, she worked to gain a diverse understanding of operations, covering areas such as leadership and management, quality of care, human resources, finance, and the physical environment.

The 22-year-old successfully completed both her internship and AIT and has served as executive director since May 2016, managing 100-plus employees in the 90-bed facility.

“My roles tie directly into what I studied while at Oregon State,” Aubree says. “I truly believe my education and degree gave me a competitive advantage and the knowledge I need to ensure I am successful as I move throughout my career.”

That’s music to Karen’s ears. “It’s truly rewarding to see students excel and be involved in this process that can be life changing,” she says.

To ensure that all students get this same opportunity to succeed, the college initiated a series of changes in 2015 that began with the creation of its Office of Student Success.That change transformed the academic advising office into a hub of services that support students, including study abroad, career and professional development, peer advisors and an internship coordinator. The team, led by Associate Dean for Student Success Vicki Ebbeck, is working to increase the college’s number of experiential learning opportunities, including new experiences in the Dominican Republic, Bangalore and Botswana. These experiences add to its existing programs, such as with Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan, the longest faculty-led program at Oregon State.

Experiential learning promotes student success, Vicki says. “Research shows that students are more likely to persist with their studies and improve their academic performance, and that every student benefits – especially historically underserved students. The key is to engage all students in these high-impact practices that can be transformative.”

Aubree’s advice for current students is to see college and the path after graduation as an opportunity for growth. “Look outside your comfort zone, explore options, set goals, value your time, identify a role model or mentor and take chances,” she says, “but most of all respect yourself and those around you.”

She puts her advice into practice daily, whether it’s overseeing departments, managing employees, staying within budget, working with local hospitals and physicians, or staying on top of a stream of new rules and changing regulations.

“There is always something to be learned and something to be improved upon,” Aubree says. “I enjoy working with diverse groups and finding ways to encourage, lead and manage my staff. Knowing what makes them ‘tick’ is important, and I think that’s what excites me most. Fostering a positive environment truly creates increased success and happiness all the way to those we interact with and have the opportunity to serve.”

— by Kathryn Stroppel. Republished from Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.  

Happy With Her Care

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betty-webThe passing of a loved one is never easy but we take comfort in knowing the final days are lived in comfort and contentment.

This kind note warmed our hearts:

We would like to thank the staff for all the love and help they gave our mom while she was there for 14 months. She was so happy with her care.

We are with heavy hearts today with our mom’s passing yesterday but happy with the great care she was given. Thank you All.

— The Family of Betty Frakes

A Success Story

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Who is that on the magazine cover?

It’s Aubree Olmstead, our executive director! The latest issue of Oregon Stater, the magazine of the Oregon State University Alumni Association, features Olmstead and her swift rise to success.

The story, “Seeking a Higher Degree of Success,” in the Spring 2017 issue, highlights Olmstead’s unique professional achievement — from college student, to intern, to executive director, in less than a year.

Olmstead grew up in Hood River and is a graduate of Oregon State University where she earned a degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Management and Policy, and a minor in Business.

osu-aubree-magazine-spread-copyShe was a just over halfway through her internship at Columbia Basin Care — the region’s only non-profit, community-owned, skilled rehabilitation and nursing facilitywhen she was offered 960 more hours of supervised training, with the understanding that she would become an administrator after completion. In May 2016, at the age of 22, she became executive director of the facility, managing 100 employees and overseeing the health and care of over 60 elderly residents.

“My roles tie directly into what I studied while at Oregon State,” she told the magazine. “I truly believe my education and degree gave me a competitive advantage and the knowledge I need to ensure I am successful as I move throughout my career.”

A strong but reserved leader, Olmstead doesn’t reach for the spotlight. It was her husband who, unbeknownst to her, contacted the magazine to share his wife’s success story.

“Over the course of eight months,” Zack Schreiner told the magazine, “she went from being an unpaid intern who had not yet received her diploma to the executive director of a facility with over 100 employees, and is responsible for the care of 50-plus residents. At this time she was only 22 years old. She attributes a lot of her success to the skills and education that she gained while at Oregon State.”

Olmstead’s advice for college students also echoes her leadership style: “Look outside your comfort zone, explore options, set goals, value your time, identify a role model or mentor and take chances, but most of all respect yourself and those around you.”

To read the story, go here or here.

 

Congratulations!

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We’re always pleased to hear from the business community.

This kind note made us smile:

 

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Congratulations on earning the 2017 Pinnacle Customer Experience Award!

What an honor to achieve such success! Your hard work, dedication and

commitment proves how excellent you all are.

We are blessed to have you in the community.

Keep up the good work!

Addie Case
General Manager
Cousins Country Inn
The Dalles, Oregon

 

Columbia Basin Care Is A ‘Success Story’

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caleb-spread-1 caleb-coverFor “cooking up success,” Columbia Basin Care is prominently featured in the 2016 Annual Report for the Oregon State Rehabilitation Council.

The report documents the status of the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Program and highlights success stories throughout the state. In a two-page magazine spread, Columbia Basin Care is lauded for its partnership with the local Youth Transition Program.

The program prepares youth with disabilities for employment or career-related education. Working with YTP, Columbia Basin Care created a special position for Caleb Weiss, 22, to work as a kitchen assistant. For over a year, Kitchen Manager Jill Lindstrand has worked closely with Caleb, offering hands-on instruction and guidance.

“The program is incredibly successful thanks to such strong support from the community and places like Columbia Basin Care,” says Yvonne Wheeler, YTP specialist for North Wasco County School District. Each time a business owner says yes to this program, she says, “they are doing more than just providing a great position. They’re giving them an opportunity that changes lives.”

Winner! Customer Experience Award

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Columbia Basin Care has earned the 2017 Pinnacle Customer Experience Award, achieving a Best in Class distinction.

Serving the community for over 50 years, Columbia Basin Care places strong emphasis on meeting the needs of every resident. In achieving the Pinnacle Customer Experience Award, Columbia Basin Care has met the rigorous demand of scoring in the top 15 percent of the nation across a 12-month average. The Customer Experience Award is given to care providers who have achieved best-in-class customer satisfaction standards.

The award is granted by Pinnacle Quality Insight, a national customer satisfaction firm that regularly conducts interviews with residents of Columbia Basin Care regarding their satisfaction levels.

Every month, Columbia Basin Care reviews these survey results in order to gain a better understanding of resident needs and make improvements when necessary.

“We work hard to provide excellent care for our residents,” says Aubree Olmstead, executive director. “This award is a great affirmation of the dedication and skill of our team.”

Columbia Basin Care, located in The Dalles, is the region’s only non-profit, community-owned, skilled rehabilitation and nursing facility. CBC offers the area’s only in-house geriatric nurse practitioner, along with a team of licensed physical, occupational and speech therapists who provide comprehensive rehabilitation and restorative services.

 

“In Good Hands”

letter from residentThe passing of a resident is never easy. Like family, we grow attached and each loss carries a special ache. This kind message, however, lifted our spirits:

“I really wanted to take a second to thank the whole crew for taking such great care of Papa. It was comforting for the family to know he was in great hands. I know he was quite a handful and a stinker at its finest, but he loved you all very much. Thank you all for your care, compassion, and dedication.”

— Moriah Enriquez
[granddaughter of Harold Kiser]

 

“I Like What I See”

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tim-mcglothlinI like what I am seeing at Columbia Basin Care.

Staffing, operations, and facility improvements are impressive.

Keep up the great work.

Timothy McGlothlin
Council President
The Dalles City Council

A Note of Thanks

letter from resident

letter from residentWe love letters.

This one is from a resident who recently returned home:

“I’d like to give special thanks for good care from nurses like Pat, and all the rest that I do not know names, and all the therapy people that helped me so much with my exercises that I really needed. . . I give special thanks to Alesia O’Brien for the way she is helping the people with entertainment in all ways. It helped me pass the time. I enjoyed all the activities very much. . . .

Good job everyone. Thank you very much.”

 

 

“An Amazing Group of People”

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The passing of a resident is never easy. Kind and thoughtful expressions, like this beautiful letter, lift our spirits and bind us together in something larger than individual loss:

To the Columbia Basin Administrator,

My mother died two weeks ago, after being in your facility over 5 years. During that time, I have seen a lot of changes at Columbia Basin; not only the obvious facility changes, but deeper cultural changes. Even though I have always felt that my mother was taken care of at your facility, it seems different now. The staff seems connected; like they care about each other as well as their residents.

They were nothing short of amazing through my mother’s passing and I am so glad she was with you. They were professional, compassionate, kind, caring and so very supportive.

They wanted to make sure I was there when she died. Even though I was hesitant and it was difficult, I’m glad I was.

Now I knew my mother and know she was not always easy to deal with, but on her last night, several staff members stopped in to say good-bye to her, hugged her and kissed her and told her they would miss her. A group came in, gathered around her bed and talked about what she had meant to them. The aides kept coming in and talking to her and making sure we were comfortable, keeping her cool and re-adjusting her positioning and making sure I was doing okay and didn’t need anything. Someone brought in a CD player and played soft music. After she died, they cleaned her all up and tucked her perfectly in her bed.

I will never forget what they did for her or for me.

And if that wasn’t enough, a few days later, I received a condolence card that all of the staff signed with nice comments that I will share with my family.

Thank you for putting together this amazing group of people. Please share with them, and anyone else who cares to listen, how wonderful I think they are.

With kindest regards,

Andrea Smith
[ daughter or Anona Chapman ]