Great employees are dedicated, adaptable and disciplined, characteristics that are personified in individuals who have served in the military.
“Leveraging the Talent of Your Vets” was the topic of a Christiana Care Multicultural Heritage Committee event at the John H. Ammon Medical Education Center on Nov. 9. The speaker was Lola Osawe, MHSA, FACHE, FACMPE, administrative director of the Breast Center and an Air Force reservist.
In addition to the skills they learn in the military, veterans bring “adaptability, resiliency and stick-to-it-tiveness” to the workplace, she said. “That toughness you learn in the field isn’t something you can put on a resume. In an intense clinical environment, that is who you want on your team.”
Three military veterans who work at Christiana Care participated in a panel discussion: G. Blake Collins, MBA, CBET, CHTM, FABC, director, Clinical Engineering; Fred Filippone Jr., sergeant, Security; and Sam Wetherill, Pharm.D., MHA, director, Pharmacy Supply Chain. The fourth panelist was Alan Scott, benefits and quality improvement manager for Community Integrated Services, which partners with organizations to help people find jobs. Christine Kubik, who leads Delaware Joining Forces, a network of agencies and external service provides who work to improve life for veterans, moderated the discussion.
Collins, who served 21 years in the Navy, received basic and advanced biomedical equipment technician training at the U.S. Army Medical Equipment and Optical School. He said that veterans are dependable teammates who often have extensive training in leadership and management.
“I know they come in on time,” he said. “They have that discipline.”
Wetherill, an Army officer who now serves in the Reserve, said that vets are culturally competent colleagues who learn to work well in a diverse group. His experience includes duties abroad in Germany, Bosnia and Kosovo. He was mobilized three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
“The military is the most inclusive place you can imagine,” he said. “From a cultural perspective, we meet people from all over the country, all over the world.”
Filippone, who served a tour of duty in Afghanistan, said he works with the health system to make adjustments for the time he devotes to training with the National Guard each year.
“I give them a schedule of when I am going to be off so they can prepare for it,” he said.
Scott asks service people what additional duties they have been trained to perform in addition to their regularly assigned tasks. He encourages job seekers to craft two resumes — one that emphasizes military service and one focused on civilian life.
Vets bring both diversity and transferable skills to the workplace, said Dana Beckton, director, Diversity and Inclusion.
“The Multicultural Heritage Committee has worked hard over the past year to show the value of all of our extraordinary employees,” she said. “This event highlights the idea that our diverse experiences bring transferable skills to the workplace that might not be immediately recognized.”
There were a number of vets among the attendees. Catherine White, a medical equipment tech in Clinical Engineering, said she believes her service in the Navy gives her an edge in the workplace.
“The Navy taught me dedication and discipline, two values I bring to my job,” she said.
In an era of sweeping health care reform, Osawe said vets are uniquely positioned to aid in the transition.
“Change is the new normal, and veterans have always been bridge builders because of their resiliency,” she said. “Integrity first, service before self, excellence in all we do: those are values that transfer in whatever work we do.”
Audrey C. Van Luven, senior vice president and chief human resources officer, is an Honorary Commander in the Delaware National Guard. She said that Christiana Care is committed to helping veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment. From 2014 through 2015, Christiana Care hired more than 60 veterans.
“Men and women who have served our country are the kind of extraordinary people we are looking for to serve our patients,” she said.