The Caring Force Blog Workforce Hero Spotlight: Melanie Jansky

The Caring Force is pleased to announce that our next Workforce Hero Spotlight honoree is Melanie Jansky from Bay Cove Human Services. Melanie is a Senior Program Director with 13 years of experience at Bay Cove and she is overseeing major changes to her program over the course of the pandemic. Melanie told us that she feels most successful when her clients and staff are happy, healthy and performing well.

Here is what Melanie had to say when we asked about her career in human services:

Tell us about your background. How did you decide to pursue a career in human services?

“I’ve always wanted to do something where I was helping people. I started off in nursing school right out of high school, but when I realized the thought of giving an injection made me faint, I found myself looking for a different path!  I moved back and forth between retail jobs and home health/CNA work for most of my career, but found my retail jobs left me unfulfilled and working in a healthcare/ home health setting was not broad enough. I wanted to have more of an impact.

Finally, after my last retail position, I saw an ad for a position as a Supported Housing Specialist, in the Mental Health Division of Bay Cove Human Services that was just what I wanted. I interviewed and got the job. That was in 2007. I moved up the ranks, from direct support, to program management, and into my current position in the Long Term Support Services Division as a Senior Program Director in our medically intensive Rolland Group Homes. I’ve been with Bay Cove for 13 years.”

What is your favorite professional memory? 

“I can’t say that I have just one! My favorite professional memories, though, are those that involve the individuals we serve participating in some activity. It could be a barbeque, or Christmas Party or gardening or taking care of the bird feeders at their program. It’s watching them delight in the everyday activities we sometimes take for granted but really are the spice of life. When I see folks at a Bay Cove dance or with a music therapist at the house, singing, dancing, and smiling; those are my favorite professional memories.”

How has your work at Bay Cove been impacted by the pandemic? 

“I think the question might be, how has our work at Bay Cove not been affected by the pandemic! We’ve adjusted our universal precaution protocols to include COVID specific protocols. We were trained on how to use specific PPE and when to use it. We’ve changed staff schedules to minimize our footprint at the programs, using a shelter in place model where appropriate.

Staff spent 2 weeks at a time living at our programs, not going to their own homes, to take care of our individuals. We changed how we grocery shopped, many of our administrative processes had to be adjusted and we’ve learned and used technology to hold staff meetings and management meetings. There was a lot of education that happened in a very short period of time, and that continues!

Our families have been hugely supportive of the work we’ve been doing. We had to look at what solo activities would be therapeutic for individuals as we navigated through times when they needed to isolate in their rooms as a best practice. If there is any silver lining to this pandemic, it’s that it has brought us as providers closer, to provide the services that are so important.”

Do you have a question for us to pose to our next spotlight honoree? 

“What brings you joy in your current position?”

Thank you to Melanie and all the other tireless staff helping to provide services to clients and families throughout the pandemic. You are the Commonwealth’s human services heroes!

P.S. The Caring Force will be publishing additional workforce spotlights through the pandemic in an effort to raise the voices of workers on the front lines. If you know someone who inspires clients and embodies the spirit of The Caring Force, please nominate them by emailing Ravi Simon at rsimon@providers.org.

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