Quality Assurance Coordinator Amanda Schrader strives for excellence!
In January 2016, Amanda Schrader had a new job at Homeland Center, a husband busy with his own work overseeing a prison medical unit, and two boys, ages 1 and 3.
“I decided that was the perfect time in my life to go back to school,” she says. “Why not? I’m crazy.”
The pursuit of knowledge, even in the face of daunting demands, is a defining feature of Schrader’s life. At Homeland, she is Quality Assurance Performance Improvement/Education Coordinator, responsible for the rigorous pursuit of consistent excellence.
Schrader grew up in Pennsylvania and North Dakota with a medical family. Her dad is an anesthesiologist, now living and practicing in Williamsport.
“Medicine was always part of my life but it never occurred to me until halfway through my senior year in high school that nursing was something I wanted to do,” she says. “Once I decided on nursing, I just stayed with it.”
Her nursing studies have taken her from North Dakota to Williamsport, working by day and studying by night. She expects to finish her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Grand Canyon University in November 2017.
Schrader’s husband of seven years, Josh, is a lieutenant at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institute at Camp Hill, where he oversees the medical complex.
“It’s fun,” says Schrader. “He knows he can talk to me about the medical stuff going on and I won’t get grossed out.”
She and her husband devote their off-work time to the boys, Harrison, 5, and Nathan, 2 and a half. They go to science centers and zoos, parks and pools. Sometimes, family time is as basic as sitting on the deck in their rural home.
“When you have a stressful day at work, you have to be so cautious with the kids,” she says. “You can’t take away their childhood because you have a bad day.” Then she added, “Harrison and I had a pillow fight before I left for work this morning.”
At Homeland Center, Schrader first worked in the Ellenberger dementia unit. There, she honed her skills in catching the nonverbal cues from residents to indicate a need.
“You have to completely know and be in tune with everything that goes on because they can’t say to you, ‘My back hurts,’” she says. “Maybe they’re calling out, and all they need is a Tylenol because their back hurts. Maybe they’re looking for the bathroom, but they can’t tell you that.”
Homeland is the right place for her because its standards of quality care for residents match her own.
“The people who have been here 10, 20, or 30 years, they’re the ones who make Homeland what it is,” she says. “I came on board and make sure the quality continues to be there.”
The days can be pressure-filled. It helps, she says, that “there’s a whole team of quality assurance people in the building.”
“Everyone’s busy, but there’s never a moment when they make you feel like there’s something more important,’’ she said. “That’s what makes this place different. This is such a supportive family.”
Residents and their families feel the difference.
“When you feel included and appreciated and supported, it’s one less thing weighing on your mind when you’re providing care for someone,” Schrader says. “It’s easier to leave stress outside the door because when you come inside, you feel safe and you feel protected. It’s all about the residents.”