We Interview Tammy Whiteduck, Our Whole Person Care Director
When I worked in the ER, I saw people come in on their deathbeds. It shook me to my core. You see, I grew up on a native reservation in Canada. In Canada, you would see a doctor before things disintegrated to that point. Once I moved to the US, I saw discrepancies that my eyes couldn’t believe even though I have spent a lifetime working with vulnerable populations. Here in the US, people didn’t have the funds and you could see that reflected on the state of their health and their health care.
At Ritter Center, we take a holistic approach with every person that we serve. It is at the heart of our mission and just one of the many things I love about my job as Whole Person Care Director. How can we work together to make lives whole again? We recognize that everybody has a story. Working with our patients comes down to this fact. Getting to know someone’s story helps you tap into resources that can help. It might be connecting with something or someone from their past. When you get to know someone and know more about their experience, you can have a better understanding of the individual.
But we can’t just go in and do the work in a vacuum. We have to remember our own story, too. It has an impact on who we are at this point in time and how we connect with our patients.
We don’t always have all of the answers, but with enough love and support, we can be creative and start to identify solutions.
We learn along with our patients. Every day there are new situations and a chance to learn something new. This keeps our work fresh. Hand in hand, staff, and client, we work through the issues and come up with ideas on how to approach situations.
One tool that is most helpful is our shared caseload model. This is different than most other programs where a case manager is assigned to work with 17 individuals. But with a shared caseload model, we have staff that rotates within the same 17 clients. This means a different staff person might see them one week versus the next week which lends to even more creativity and ideas from the group for each person’s care.
At Ritter Center, our passion to help people knows no limits.
We always remember that we could be on the other side at any time. We treat people as equals and each and every one of us is committed and genuinely aligned to the mission. Doing it to do a job is not the reason. It is to actually make a difference. You can feel it. You can hear it. It’s great energy. We can create a difference in people’s lives.
Whole Person Care Director