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UAB Honored by Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities

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A hospital unit and its nurse manager at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have been honored by the Governor’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities Birmingham area at their 40th Annual Employer/Employee Awards Luncheon.

The Outpatient Clinical Decision Unit of UAB Hospital, a 51 bed treatment space that serves as an extension of the emergency department, has received the Collaboration Award, presented to an individual or a team that has demonstrated the true spirit of cooperation via collaborative resources and networking on initiatives that contribute to the employment of individuals with disabilities.

“The OCDU demonstrates the true spirit of collaboration,” said Kristen Noles, the unit nurse manager. “The team doesn’t look at disabilities, but rather focuses on each other’s strengths with an awareness of each other’s needs for accommodations or additional support so everyone can make a difference every day. OCDU is an environment that promotes communication, trust, cooperation and a mutual respect.”

Among the reasons cited for the unit’s nomination, Noles says the OCDU created an intern position for a young man with a disability who, once acclimated to the unit, expressed a desire to work full time as a patient care technician at UAB. The unit staff volunteered to provide the necessary extra training he needed, and the young man is now a full-time employee on the unit.

The unit also hired an RN with a hearing impairment, working out the necessary accommodations to allow her to succeed as a full time nurse on the unit. Noles credits her with connecting with her patients on a personal, compassionate level.

The unit also worked with the Dannon Project to create a curriculum for geriatric-specific care that was taught to patient care technicians employed on the OCDU. Following graduation from the program, those PCTs gave back to the Dannon Project to relay what they had learned to 50 young aspiring healthcare workers about how to take care of the older adult.

Noles herself received the Randy West Award, given to volunteers, educators, rehabilitation professionals, or a consumer who has made an enduring impression in the lives of consumers and rehabilitation professionals through overwhelming encouragement, volunteering of their time, talents, and leadership skills, to positively impact the lives of individuals with disabilities.

The Alabama Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities is a program of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. Its primary goals are educating the public about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities and promoting greater independence for people with disabilities.

Source: UAB News