Spotlight: Cristina Hernandez, TC Skilled

Checking her list

Turn the computer on, then check in with “the boss,” Deb Allen in Twin Cities Skilled. Another check-in with “the other boss,” Donna Smith in HR. Pull up Outlook and check Tim’s schedule. Check Barb’s schedule. Make sure there’s enough paper, water, plastic silverware, pens, and post-its. Check the main fax. Sit down and check Corporate voicemail. Check email. Look for IT inventory to check in or check out. How much checking can one person do in a day! And it’s only been 15 minutes.

This is the beginning of a typical weekday for Cristina Hernandez, Office Assistant at HealthStar’s Corporate and Twin Cities Skilled office. She keeps us all organized, on-time, and well-stocked with legal pads. She has a great sense of humor and loves practical jokes, but be warned; if you pick on her way of eating fried rice, one grain at a time while picking all of the vegetables out, you might upset her. She does have her sensitive side.

A little history

Cristina started at HealthStar in June of 2015. She worked as a HMK/HHA/PCA for the Minneapolis South office on Franklin, and she provided administrative support to the office between visits. In October of the same year, she applied for a position at the Corporate office. Corporate snapped her up before the ink dried on her application.

Cristina has been a great addition to the Corporate team, and is now working most often with the Twin Cities Skilled team. There is a lot to love about Cristina; just ask her. She’s not shy about her talents and will tell you the same. She has three unique and special talents, though, that make her really stand out from the crowd. Cristina, the HealthStar Spotlight’s on you! Let’s see what makes you shine!

Love yourself, first!

Cristina is very confident and self-assured. This makes her a great fit at the front desk, because she doesn’t shy away from meeting new people, and she is very comfortable in new situations. Cristina easily befriends any person in her path. She is charismatic and speaks her mind, but her sense of humor and kindness help to temper her strong personality.

Cristina can liven up a dark day, and she uses that skill to help motivate the Corporate and Skilled teams, from the lowest member right up to the very top. We have all witnessed the effect of her motivational skills on Tim Lively (owner/CEO). Only Barb Jezorski, Executive Director, can compete with Cristina when it comes to motivating power. When Barb and Cristina combine forces, Tim stays on schedule, on time, and on target! Corporate staff love it, because without Cristina, we wind up playing “oh where oh where has my boss’s boss gone.” It’s a lovely tune, but when you’re trying to plan your day, it can be a challenge. We like Cristina’s way much better.

Tell us a story

My personal favorite thing about Cristina is that she is an amazing source of information about Latino culture, and she’s a captivating storyteller. It is fun to learn about her Puerto-Rican background! I love when she tells us about the sights, the smells, and the sounds of Puerto Rico. I especially like learning about the food that Cristina’s family used to cook for her when she was growing up. Cristina is also willing to give me tips about speaking Spanish. She’s not afraid to correct my grammar or pronunciation (she’s brutally honest, have I mentioned that?). I have also learned this very important lesson from Cristina: just because two people might both speak Spanish, they don’t necessarily speak it the same way, or share the same cultural background. It is very interesting to learn of the many differences between Spanish-speaking cultures!

Cristina sometimes provides backup to the lovely and talented Nilda Garcia, Program Manager of Sagrado Corazón. Thank goodness for them both, because according to Cristina, my Spanish skills are not quite ready for prime time. HealthStar’s Spanish-speaking Clients might not be as patient as Nilda and Cristina when I take 5 minutes to think of the right word for Cucumber. (By the way, Concombre is French, not Spanish. You can guess who corrected me on that…)

But how are you feeling, really?

This is a special skill that I really admire in Cristina. She knows how to read people. She can be the most caring and patient person, if that’s what you need her to be. But in a heartbeat, she can turn on a fiery personality and liven things up with her high energy and flair. She takes the time to really listen to our Clients’ needs, making each Client feel like there is nothing else going on in the world. Clients would never know that she is also being pulled by multiple departments to help with their workloads. Cristina’s honest and open communication style sets people at ease in difficult situations. Most of all, she is passionate about meeting our Clients’ needs, whether it means translating at visits, providing direct care with grace and a gentle touch, or just listening and being compassionate when someone calls with an issue.

Family Connections

Some fun facts about Cristina’s family: Cristina’s mom, Marisol, has also worked at HealthStar. She provided HHA service out of the Minneapolis South office starting in 2011, and she reigned supreme as temporary queen of Corporate file retention in 2018. She is our favorite employee mom, because she makes the most amazing cakes. We miss you, Marisol – please come and visit soon!

There is another family connection, too. Cristina’s first experience with home care was when her brother, Jomar, received home care services through another agency. This was several years before Cristina joined HealthStar, and showed Cristina the impact that home care services make! Growing up with Jomar, with her family supporting his unique needs, Cristina developed the patience and compassion that make her such a great fit at HealthStar. Jomar is doing great and now lives in his own place. We all joined Cristina in celebrating his increasing independence, and we always enjoy hearing about his progress!

HealthStar Needs You, Cristina!

Corporate wouldn’t be the same without Cristina. I know, because I was here before she joined the team. It was a dark time, and we certainly don’t want to go back! Cristina has big shoes to fill, but the great thing is, she has big feet, so we never have to worry. She handles all her tasks with determination, and she keeps her sense of humor handy when things get tough. She’s a critical piece of the Corporate team!

Want to know more about what it’s like to work at Corporate? Check out our other articles and see which positions we’re hiring for today!

Footnote:

After reviewing this article, Cristina was disappointed that I didn’t discuss her amazing video editing skills. This is a unique talent, but it doesn’t seem to fit into any of the three very personal talent areas that I have clearly outlined above. Instead of adding a fourth talent category just for video editing, I told her that I would add a footnote. Cristina, I sincerely hope that you are now satisfied with this article. I don’t want to upset you, like that time I picked on your rice eating style.

Do You Want to Make a Difference in a Senior’s Life? Join Our Team!

A caregiver is someone who helps another individual with activities of daily living (ALDs). ALDs are considered daily basic self-care tasks, such as getting dressed, grooming, eating, and transferring. Working as a caregiver can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Do you have a caring touch and a loving personality with a passion for health and wellness? If so, you just might be a perfect fit for the HealthStar Home Health team!

Watch this short video and hear what some of our employees have to say about working in the caregiving field and for HealthStar Home Health.

Some caregivers may also assist with meal preparation, shopping/errands, medication management, social support or light housekeeping. Common types of caregivers include:

    • Personal Care Assistants (PCA)
    • Home Health Aides (HHA)
    • Homemakers (HMK)

HealthStar Home Health recognizes that as the senior population ages, an increasing number of Minnesota families will be tasked with caring for their aging parents as well as caring for their own family and working a full-time job. This age group is commonly referred to as the “sandwich” generation, and will feel overwhelmed when their daily job, family commitments, and the duties of caring for their aging loved ones are all factored in. This type of situation is creating the fast-growing need for various healthcare jobs, including personal care assistants.

Recent reporting from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that healthcare jobs and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and will add the most jobs to the workforce between 2016 and 2026. We are currently in the heart of that decade growth period.

The culture and training offered by HealthStar Home Health contributes to the success and satisfaction of our employees. If you’re interested in being part of the fastest growing employment industry, then consider becoming a caregiver with HealthStar Home Health. We offer paid training for individuals interested in becoming a PCA, HHA or HMK. You must be able to pass a background check, and have a reliable source of transportation. This career offers flexibility to set your own schedule and number of hours, while meeting the client’s needs.

Community-based care is the hallmark of our work. Our community-based approach to reducing health disparities is based on the premise that the causes of poor health include factors related to the social, economic and physical environment of a community. HealthStar proudly serves clients in a number of cities in Minnesota, including the Duluth, Bemidji, and Twin Cities area, as well as New Mexico and Arizona.

HealthStar Home Health understands how overwhelming and challenging it can be to care for a loved one at home and offers a variety of home health care services to help support your loved one to live a more independent and fulfilling life at home. One unique care program we offer, the Alzheimer’s Whisperer program, takes an effective approach to support those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia and their family. To learn more about the skilled nursing and therapies, and mental health services available, as well as the cultural initiatives we offer, visit our website.

Choosing home health care services shouldn’t involve settling for care that doesn’t support the needs of the individual. With HealthStar Home Health you will always be in control of your care (or that of your loved one), and allow you to receive the services you need in conjunction with the attentiveness to cultural background that defines superior home health care. Call us today at 651-633-7300 for more information or to schedule a no-charge consultation.

Spotlight: Nilda Garcia, Sagrado Corazón

Nilda Garcia and Sagrado Corazón: HealthStar’s Spanish-Speaking Support Service

Spanish-speaking Clients of HealthStar are very familiar with Nilda Garcia. She is the warm and caring voice of the Sagrado Corazón (Sacred Heart) program for Latino Clients of HealthStar. For 10 years, Nilda has been putting her “special touch” on everything that she does, from event planning to office organization and troubleshooting IT problems. With her recent promotion to Program Manager of Sagrado Corazón, Nilda is ready for action with renewed energy and focus. Nilda, the HealthStar Spotlight is on you!

A little history

Nilda has been with HealthStar since 2008, when she started as an Assistant Program Coordinator in HealthStar’s basement suite on Bloomington and 21st. Then, in 2009, Nilda helped open the West St. Paul office – the original home of Sagrado Corazón. But don’t get too comfortable, Nilda! Just a year later, HealthStar moved from the location on 21st into another building on Franklin Ave in Minneapolis. The West St. Paul office merged into the new location as well.

Nilda made the Franklin office her new home as an Assistant Program Development Liaison. She worked in the community and continued as primary contact for Sagrado Corazón. During the next 2 years, Nilda helped HealthStar achieve Medicare certification and had a front-row seat for the beginning of HealthStar’s Mental Health initiative. In 2010, Nilda watched Corporate move from Maplewood to a new building in North St. Paul. Then, In 2017, the Franklin office moved to a new location in Inver Grove Heights. Once again, Nilda unpacked and organized a new space. This new location is beautiful, with big windows and lots of wild turkeys outside! It’s a great place to re-focus and re-energize. Throughout all these changes, Nilda’s positive attitude and sense of humor kept her office mates in good spirits!

 Nilda, how do you do it all?

So, what makes Nilda tick? How can she weather all these changes and still be a constant source of positive energy? A secret about Nilda – she has superpowers. Lots of them. I’ll tell you about some, but you must promise not to say that I told you. Nilda doesn’t like to be the center of attention and won’t want everyone talking about her special abilities.

Superpower #1

Nilda’s first superpower is that she is amazing with event planning. She loves to get people together and celebrate! Nilda’s smile and laugh bring light and joy to the group. She is a great cook and loves to try new foods. Nilda says that her favorite thing about HealthStar is the family atmosphere. Working here is like working at a family gathering, because you’re surrounded by happy people who care about each other. Nilda fondly remembers when a special Client celebrated her 100th birthday last year – with Nilda at the party, of course! Nilda especially loves planning events for Sagrado Corazón, because she gets to use one of her other superpowers – the Latina superpower!

Superpower #2

Nilda’s Latina superpower comes from her family in South Texas, on the border of Mexico. Nilda loves to celebrate her Latina roots with the Sagrado Corazón team. She is always willing to help teach a little Spanish on the side, which has been one of my personal favorite things about working with Nilda. She is a very lenient Spanish teacher, unlike Cristina Hernandez, Corporate and Twin Cities Skilled Admin – also a superpowered Latina, but much stricter in the Spanish-speaking department! A little-known fact is that Nilda is close friends with Cristina’s mother, Marisol. Get them together, and I can only imagine the cooking and laughing!

Superpower #3

The last superpower that I will reveal about Nilda is that she is a multi-talented and very organized superheroine. She processes payroll, troubleshoots technology issues, and answers phones in two languages (backing up the lovely and talented Barbara Edwards at IGH), all while drinking her French vanilla coffee and running around in her high heels. Nilda is a positive force at the Inver Grove office, keeping things fun and exciting for the team. She has a fabulous sense of humor and is not afraid to pull pranks to get everyone in a good mood. She once dressed up the CPR dummy and scared RN Sue Schaber by leaving it in the bathroom overnight. Boy, was Sue surprised when she came in early thinking she had the office to herself!

Nilda says that her greatest accomplishment at HealthStar is learning to walk in another person’s shoes. She appreciates learning with her team and is grateful for the opportunities that HealthStar offers for personal and professional growth. She knows that she has great things ahead with Sagrado Corazón, and is looking forward to putting renewed focus and energy into the program. We hope you’ll check out what Sagrado Corazón has to offer, and learn more about our awesome team!

What It’s Like to Work in Home Care

I have been working at HealthStar for more than 9 years. I didn’t set out to work here that long, but I’m happy that it has turned out this way. I am part of a great team – we are so close it feels like a family. I enjoy working with some of the most caring and compassionate people around. We have a lot of fun in the office; we do all kinds of different activities from egg hunts to potlucks to office bingo. But best of all, I know that every day when I come to work, I can help someone who is in direct contact with our Clients. In my small way, through that connection, I’m helping someone remain in the community and receive quality care in the comfort of his or her own home.

On my most challenging and frustrating days, it is still fabulous to feel that all my hard work is helping someone who really needs and appreciates that help. Working here keeps my days in perspective – the challenges that I might face are trivial when compared to the challenges faced by someone who needs help just getting out of bed or making it to the store. I love to hear stories from our branch offices about the successes they experience with Clients and field staff; it is so touching to learn the different ways that we become like extended family, especially to long-term Clients. The knowledge that I can keep this all moving, and that I am a critical piece of the support team for these Clients, keeps me going through the toughest days! I never want to be the one who prevents someone from providing the best possible care to our Clients!

The best part about working at HealthStar is that I am surrounded by truly caring staff, who are motivated by Client successes, and who understand and appreciate what others around them are doing to accomplish the same goals. There is very little drama, which is extremely rare in an office environment! We are all focused on the task at hand, making sure that all the foundation work is in place so that our direct care staff can provide great care!

Our 24ECC program gives us all a common language when we feel we are not seeing eye to eye, or when days get hectic. We are good at supporting each other; we learn about each other and find ways to show our teammates that we care about them. It’s very common to hear people talking about their frustrations openly, both personal and work-related, or to hear teams discussing what could be done to improve processes and communication. We say a lot of Thank You’s, and we even try to sit together at lunch, so that we can take a few minutes together out of work mode, just to appreciate each other’s company.

I love it that when I walk in the door at work, I feel I’m in a safe place. I can rely on the support of others when I have a hard day, and I can lend my own strength and compassion when I see someone struggling. It is an awesome place to learn, grow, and even sometimes play, and I am pleased to say that I am still here, learning something new many times each day!

Want to join the HealthStar Home Health team? Check out our current job openings and apply today!

-Beth Taylor
It Manager, HealthStar Home Health

Working for HealthStar Home Health Could Be the Greatest Experience of Your Life!

Do you have a passion for health and wellness and have a loving personality with a caring touch? If your answer is yes, HealthStar Home Health wants you to be part of our team. The catch? It just might be the greatest experience of your life!

Hear what some of our employees have to say about working for HealthStar Home Health.

According to a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare jobs and industries are expected to have the fastest employment growth and will add the most jobs between 2014 and 2024. HealthStar Home Health recognizes that as the senior population ages, more and more Minnesota families are tasked with caring for their aging parents as well as caring for their own family. This age group, commonly referred to as the “sandwich” generation, is quickly becoming overwhelmed when their daily job, family commitments and additional duties when caring for their aging parents are all factored in. This type of situation is creating the fast-growing need for various healthcare jobs, including personal care assistants.

In 2015, HealthStar had the opportunity to work with PBS to identify a family who would be willing to be filmed for a documentary they were working on. The PBS documentary “Caring for Mom & Dad” explores the emotional, health and financial challenges that many family caregivers face each day. Take a moment to watch the PBS documentary to understand what our nation is facing with this crisis in caregiving that is upon us.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/caringformomanddad/watch/

Home health care encompasses a wide range of health care services that can be provided in the home for illness, injury, or daily care. Understanding how overwhelming and difficult it can be for care for an aging loved one and in an effort to help out the family caregiver, our home health professionals provide unparalleled public health care services ranging from Alzheimer’s and dementia care, behavioral nursing, and home health care nursing and our newest program Behavioral Health Home. One unique care program we offer, the Alzheimer’s Whisperer program, takes an effective approach to support those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias and their family. Our clients also benefit from respite care for daily needs such as bathing and dressing, chores around the home, transportation, and companionship.

HealthStar Home Health serves individuals and health care professionals in a number of cities throughout Minnesota, including the Duluth and Bemidji areas, as well as Arizona and New Mexico. We are a culturally sensitive home health care team that provides services to individuals who are traditionally underserved.

Experience something great – be a part of the HealthStar Home Health family! HealthStar Home Health is a mission-driven team of professionals deeply rooted in the personal and cultural values of the communities we serve. We provide unparalleled public health care services, while at the same time respecting the unique needs of our culturally diverse clientele through stewardship and a genuine desire to serve those in our community.

Interested in being part of the fastest employment growing industry? HealthStar Home Health offers employment opportunities in locations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota area, as well as northern Minnesota such as Duluth and Bemidji, Arizona and New Mexico. Our company is a group of professionals driven by our mission, and personal, community and cultural values. Visit the Contact Us page of our website to find current open positions as well as an application for employment to complete and submit online.

A Candid Conversation with HR

As a job seeker, imagine you had an opportunity to get into the heads of Human Resources (HR) professionals to figure out some Do’s and Don’ts that can help set you apart from the competition. At the Easter Job Transition Group on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, the room was packed and the stage was set for a candid conversation between HR and job seekers.

The panel representing small, medium and large companies, with over seventy years of professional experience combined, consisted of:

• Donna Smith, HealthStar Home Health
• JeanAnn Nelson Trombley
• Maureen Wheaton, Cambria

These leading ladies had an engaging, interactive and at times, humorous conversation about their experiences in the recruiting and on boarding process. No topic was off limits as they addressed topics as ageism, what HR is really looking for in interviews and organizational culture fit.

Some of the top Do’s and Don’ts for Job Seekers that came out of the conversation are listed below:

“Having been in job search, I understand the journey that job seekers experience. At the same time, as a leader I also understand what is like to sit on the other side of the table. Bringing HR professionals and job seekers together was a way of sharing, understanding and appreciating the challenges & rewards on both sides. I hope the panelist and attendees took away words of wisdom or nuggets of valuable information that will make the job search process more successful for all involved, “stated Xaulanda Simmonds-Emmanuel, Volunteer Coordinator.

Interested in a career with HealthStar Home Health? Check out our current employment opportunities.

-Xaulanda Simmonds-Emmanuel
HealthStar Home Health, Branch Manager