Here is a conversation with Arnette Scott (Motivational Enhancement Aide) about her experiences working on the Motivational Enhancement Team to support our PRIDE Site clients.
How did you first start working at the Center for Recovery and Wellness (CRW) at the Educational Alliance (EA) and how long ago was that?
I first started working at CRW on June 8th of this year as a Motivational Enhancement Aide. I was a compliance manager at a real estate company but I was recently laid off. I was looking for work and my daughter had started at CRW’s Restart high school. I grew up in the area and I really loved the mission of EA. I decided that since I wasn’t working, I wanted to just see what jobs were available. I was interested in working at CRW and in helping that population.
How have you found it so far?
I love it, it’s very rewarding. I often say that this is the first time in my adult life that I’m working somewhere where I find it purposeful and I can fulfill my passion for helping people. I’ve worked in real estate over the last 13 to 15 years, I’ve been a property manager, compliance manager, and an auditor. In all of those different facets I’ve always managed to try to help people. But the underlying objective of the employment was not necessarily to help people but moreover to ensure that landlords are compliant and receiving money. It was about the bottom line and I never really felt fulfilled. I enjoyed the salary in some cases but it was empty, I made my happiness there but it wasn’t a passion of mine. Now working at CRW, my passion has always been helping people and this is one place that I can truly be all of me and find pleasure in working.
It has also been an opportunity to be more involved in the health field because I have always wanted to be a part of the healthcare field. I’ve made some academic strides towards it, I’ve been EMT certified, I’ve taken dozens of science courses in the hopes of one day having the opportunity to be a part of the healthcare field. One of the things that slowed me down originally doing this as a youth, I was always fearful that I were hurt someone more than I could help. When I was in my 30’s, I decided that I wanted to conquer that fear by really finding a place where I can help within the health healthcare profession and not be concerned about the fear of hurting someone more than I’m helping them. When I say that, I was thinking that if I was a nurse for a doctor, what if I give someone the wrong dose? What if I give someone the wrong medicine?
But I didn’t really focus on all the possible ways that I could help. When I decided to let go of that fear, I started looking into having more of an academic background that can open up an opportunity. When I was laid off this last time during the pandemic, I said I’m really going to focus on something that’s going to make me happy, something that I can get a foot in into helping people. I was able to come here and now I’m wanting to get more accreditation and learn more about this population in the hope that I can help more than I am now.
Is there a particular type of role in the healthcare field that you aspire to most, or not necessarily?
Not necessarily, as long as I’m helping someone I‘m happy so I haven’t narrowed it. Right now I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been at a job. The fact that I’m able to do what I feel like I was meant to do is enough for me right now. I’m looking for ways later to see how I can do more further down the line. Right now, I’m still learning about the population and how to help but there is so much more to learn. I’m really interested in learning more so this is where I’ll be for a little while.
What have you found to be the most challenging aspects of the role so far?
For me, the most challenging part is understanding how addiction plays out on an individual level. I understand the fundamentals of addiction as a whole, but I think the most challenging part is being able to meet people where they are, and understanding how their particular addiction affects them.
In healthcare anywhere, everything is individualized, you can’t just group the population together. The challenge is really understanding each individual, meeting them where they are, and trying to help them maintain their sobriety and being a stern comfort to them. It’s all about balance and I think that’s the challenging part, understanding where each person needs that balance and then balancing myself at the same time. The relationship aspect of it is one of the most challenging parts of the job because I want to be able to help every single individual but you can’t do it for everyone, so I think for me it is finding the balance of not depleting myself and making sure that everyone else is okay.
Sounds like a lot to think about, how have you overcome that challenge?
What I’ve done for the most part is lean on my coworkers and allow them to give me advice and mentor me. And accepting help from anyone, I refer to the Motivational Enhancement Counselors (MECs), clinicians, directors, anyone that has been in this field for a while and has some knowledge to impart on me on how to best balance myself. I feel like everyone has had a time where they struggled with that sort of balance and the fact that they’ve been able to maintain their careers means to me that it is worth finding that balance. It also helps humanize what I’m going through so it doesn’t seem like I need to be a robot. When you read in an academic book about self-care, it just seems really cut and dry and it doesn’t get a nuance on how it affects you as a person. Talking to other people gives me more insight and also helps me not feel so bad about not being able to do something or not being able to shut emotions off. It’s okay, take a breath, we’ve all been there. So just leaning on my peers and the staff and everyone there has been extremely helpful.
Is there anyone in particular who has been especially helpful to you in that regard that you want to shout out?
I think everyone has given me something. Luis Corchado (PRIDE Site Director) is a really good teacher, when I have a question he goes through information with a lot of detail. I’ll read but I won’t get the necessary comprehension because this is all new to me, so he helps me really understand what it is that I’m reading and it gives me even more insight.
Katina Glover (MEC Director) has been an excellent supervisor, she’s available and I’m able to get feedback from her as well. She can see when you might be veering off, like, ‘okay, I need you to come back and focus here,’ so she’s been really good to make sure that I’m centered.
And then there’s my coworkers, the other MEC staff. Jeffrey Lambus has been a really good mentor for me in aspects of counseling and understanding the population. And James Moloney has been really instrumental in helping me understand the administrative part and the overall objectives of being an MEC. Both of them together have helped me build a more well-rounded insight, because I’m a support aide not yet an actually MEC. They’ve taught me a lot so that I’m able to help them and the organization run as efficiently as possible. It’s like having two mentors at one time, I can get any piece of information that I need from them throughout the day.
Regina and the medical staff have all been very helpful when it comes to medical issues. As I’m taking temperatures, if I notice something about a particular client, they’ve been really good at helping me understand whether it is either part of addiction or is it a medical issue. They’ve helped me understand a little bit more of the physiology of addiction and how it affects each person’s body differently, even after being clean. I could just keep going, everyone else has been extremely helpful.