My Purpose to Serve Others Continues to Ring True!

(Original post date 9/10/13) As I mentioned last week, I’m moving into round 2 of my studies at GWU. I came across the statement of purpose I wrote in April 2013 and wanted to post it as it continues to ring true for me!

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE written by Amy E. Botkin

My purpose in undertaking graduate study at The George Washington University is to learn about the intricacies and efficiencies of serving as an expert witness in my area of expertise. As a rehabilitation counselor, life care planner and placement specialist, my focus is often on facilitating healthy return to work outcomes.

Prior to my current career, I worked as a marketing representative for a staffing agency that placed people into clerical and light industrial jobs. This work experience offered me a base on how to match people with the world of work. I understand the concept of incorporating the needs of employers with the needs of job seekers.

My background as the leader of a diverse group of placement specialists afforded me additional insight into challenges affecting job seekers. In my practice, as well as with the experiences within our group, I visit employers and find that personalities and fitting in, as well as proof of skills, may be the strongest indicator of a successful placement.

However, in perspective the job seeker may not believe he or she has the capacity to meet the employer’s expectations. Therefore, the job seeker is not successful in the initial stages of a job search, leading to feelings that may further disintegrate their role and performance as a qualified job seeker. Therefore, my career goal is to continue with my consulting practice and incorporate specific work-life identity skills training.

Ringing True!

As a freelance writer on a part-time basis, I develop stories about locally owned businesses, mostly from a personality perspective by interviewing business owners to learn about their background and what brought them to this particular business. I gain much insight and detail into what brings a person to their career.

My ability to draw out a person’s background information is also useful to guide a person who has lost their job due to illness, injury or disability into a new or similar job that continues to use their assets, albeit in a new form.

My research interests are in the areas of vocational rehabilitation, specifically how personalities, lifestyles and cultures form a person’s work identity. When taking into consideration a serious injury or accident that leads to disability or functional limitations, I would like to identify and assess unique methods to adjust the factors related to essential functions of a job that may be beyond a person’s capacities (either physically, emotionally or intellectually).

I would like to learn how to Box!

Using the skills gained from this program, I’d expand my research methodology for my client, evaluee or customer. Presenting novel material in front of a jury will allow me to separate from the common counselor and be viewed as a credible source of unique material that is specific to the needs of the case. With this new knowledge and skill, I would feel even more confident expressing my opinions. I look forward to my studies.

Thank you,

Amy E. Botkin, MS, CRC, CLCP

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Intimidators: Tailgaters, Drunken Jerks or Glaring Attorneys? Need an Expert?

Remember the last time someone tried to intimate you? How about when a person (like a careless driver tailgating, or the drunken jerk in front of you standing in line for a beer) may think they can make you do something or react in some way? Exceed the posted speed limit ~ NOPE! Pay attention to public intoxication ~ NOT INTERESTED! Say something you didn’t mean to, HA!

uckr cup

Go ahead be one, but don’t think I care!

Recently I received a pretty mean facial expression/glaring eyes/stare down/stern voice/condescending attitude and a critical tone to the long litany of questions from an attorney during multiple cross examination (this blog originally posted ~4/8/2013!). I knew he was trying to intimidate me. HA!

But, I answered all his questions calmly. (I love it when the attorney can’t even remember what they asked me and have to refer to the court reporter) and stuck to my guns (aka: my knowledge base) during my expert testimony. Simply put: I know what I’m talking about. I know my job.  One role of my job, especially when on the witness stand, is to educate.

mmBring it on!

I have never been intimated much by people (places, things or even animals either for that matter.) Okay, okay, I am intimidated by Mother Nature, especially when she zooms a mesocyclone or other tornado like activity our way. Mother Nature is a Force to be Feared! Treat Her with Utmost Respect!! 

I have always been able to speak my mind (ask anyone who knows me) and yes it’s gotten me in a pickle or two from time to time. I try to express whatever is on my mind being mindful of who I’m communicating with, the content of my speech/body language, and the context of how/when my message is delivered.

PeacockThere is truly a difference between a cocky person and a confident person.

I like to accept my confidence with the work I do and grow in it every day. Seriously, my role on the stand allows me to serve as an expert witness & educator all while consulting within the scope of my practice. I keep a placement and quality of life orientation at the forefront of any topic. 

And of course, learning more about how to serve as an expert witness will only help me to help others. I’ve applied to The George Washington University to study for a graduate certificate in Forensics Rehabilitation Counseling. I’ll keep you posted if I’m accepted! 

Endnote dated 8/15/2017: Yes, I was accepted….and yes I graduated from GWU….and yes I learned a lot! and continue to learn about myself and my role in life, and my beloved career more and more every day! Let me know how I might help you, attorney person, help your client.

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

People and Their Pets…Got Cat? Pet Ownership

When I meet with an individual to perform a vocational assessment, I ask many questions to gather information about their work and life background. One question I ask, underlying other questions regarding psychosocial factors, is about pet ownership. Asking about pet ownership during an evaluation can tell me a lot about a person!

Got Cat? Rabbit? Snake? Fish? Iguana? Bearded Dragon?

Of course pet ownership is not for everyone, but if the individual is a pet owner, and a discussion develops about the topic, it offers me insight about the person. Pet ownership allows for psycho-social benefits accruing within an individual from the one-to-one type interactions with their pets.

Pet ownership can also influence broader social interactions and perceptions, experiences of sense of community, and social capital at the neighborhood level. In addition, a pet owner’s sense of health and well-being often emerges as a valuable and positive feature of daily living.

SamiJo The Love of My Life!
SamiJo The Love of My Life!

This is SamiJo, the Love of My Life!

Okay: I have 3 cats (Felix, SamiJo and Alaska), a dog (Bella), a guinea pig (Peggy), and a fish (Bluebee). Oh, and a hedge hog (Sandslash). My beloved rabbit, (a mini rex named Patches) died last week.

It’s a big responsibility to own a pet. You must provide basic care which includes food, water, shelter, veterinary care and exercise for your pet. And you must abide by the City’s bylaws around pets and animals.  For Bella’s 5th birthday awhile back, she received a dog pass to the Riverwalk Dog Park!

Patches
Patches

Patches was a grateful rabbit

Patches had plush, velvet like fur and a happy personality. A mini rex is known as “The Velveteen Rabbit”. Patches was small, weighing 3-4 pounds. He liked to lunge out of his wooden hut when his cage door was opened. Some people (like my husband) got a little frightened of this burst out thinking they were in danger! But I saw his behavior as a great show of energy! I also loved his happy hops!

 Patches loved rose petals….He ate them! 

Patches always was thankful when he was fed (and especially when he received a treat!) with a little snorty sound. I had noticed he was getting very thin, however he still was eating. And then one morning, he was not lunging out of his hut, and he was very still, yet he was breathing. I checked on him several more times.

Later in the afternoon he did lunge out, although it was a very unusual lunge. He bonked off his litter box and landed on his side. I started to pet him……continuing to stroke his very soft fur….until he died.

Think about pets you’ve known and understand why I find it important to ask about pet ownership. Have you ever gone to a dog park and learned dogs’ names, but never asked the owners for theirs? And observed their behaviors (both dogs and owners) to compile evidence about your theory of dog parks!?!

In a previous post on April 2nd 2012, I blogged about another question I ask about the person’s nutritional intake and habits. Want to Heal that Injury? Focus on Your Nutrition!  Healthy nutritional intake is just as important for your body as it is for your pets. Please feed everyone well!

For You Patches. I Love You!

Let me know if you have questions about how I perform a vocational assessment. You can also click over to the right under documents for download to see a sample vocational assessment and evaluation report.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Assessment, Assessment, Assessment and More Assessment! Need Your Client Assessed?

I performed a self-assessment and wrote a paper titled “Self-Assessment of Competencies for Entry Level Health Educators” for the School Health course I took while attending Iowa State University in the fall of 1994.

Self Assessment

I remember typing my paper on a Power Mac and using a dot matrix printer! Remember how to carefully tear the sides off after you gently folded at the seam?  I read the old paper (it was yellowed!) scanned it in and recycled the paper (one of my purposes of blogging is to clear out my office of lots of paper!) I won’t bore you with the entire paper, but here’s the original cover page, the introduction and the conclusion:

INTRODUCTION

I am a non-traditional student (if there is such a term) who has worked for 12+ years and made the move to return to school to fulfill a personal goal. Please keep in mind as you read my self-assessment that I have based many skills and competencies on activities I have performed in the past at the workplace.

I have been employed as a nurse’s aide, a medical records clerk, an agricultural statistics gatherer, and a secretary for the State of Iowa. Currently, I am a medical transcriptionist and a placement specialist.

My position as a placement specialist has offered me many skills that can be related to a health educator. This position is for a rehabilitation consulting firm, and as a placement specialist, I work with individuals who have been injured on the job and are now receiving workers’ compensation benefits. My objectives involve offering the client job seeking skills training to return them to meaningful employment as outlined by their personal goals and health history. My education nursing school, secretarial science, liberal arts and community health education. I have many credits!

The paper then focused on how my skills / competencies (including those I would need to acquire) and related life experiences help in the following areas:

  • Assessing Individual and Community Needs for Health Education
  • Planning, Implementing and Evaluating Health Education Programs
  • Acting as a Resource Person in Health Education
  • Communicating Health and Health Education Needs, Concerns and Resources.

And the … last page … the

CONCLUSION

This self-assessment is an excellent tool to use when identifying your strengths and weaker areas of professionalism and room for growth. I put a lot of work into this assessment, as it let me seriously look at why I took various courses and which ones pertain to my future as a health educator. This assessment will help me compile an up-to-date resume, and also gives me a tool which I can use when interviewing for a job.

Although I feel I have many useful skills, I need to refine many of them. With the incorporation of all the knowledge I have gained through my community health education major, I am VERY MUCH looking forward to finding a position where I can utilize all my skills and competencies.

The professor, Dr. Frank E. Shabel, made comments in red ink throughout the assessment, and on the last page of the paper he wrote:  Amy, This is the most thorough assessment I have had in two years. You have gained much through the process. Save a copy for future employers. A+ 35/35 4 pages? (Note it need have only been 4 pages, but mine was 9…typical me.)

The paper is a blast from the past and I see that I did a pretty good job of doing what I said I needed to do!  That being to utilize and develop the skills and competencies I wrote about in the fall of 1994!  And very importantly, since then, I focused in on developing my assessment skills.

An assessment is the estimation of the quality or ability of something or someone.  It is imperative to gather complete, reliable and valid information from the person who is the recipient of an assessment.  

Image result for clip art assessment image

I perform vocational assessments, transferable skills assessments, job assessments, educational assessments, employability assessments, job seeking skills assessments, job search assessments, labor market assessments, educational / training assessments, small business assessments, independent living assessments, life care planning assessments, motivational assessments, occupational health assessments, plus more!
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If you’d like to learn more about my vocational assessments, or any of the other many assessments available, and how I focus on individual while keeping uniqueness in mind, give me a call at 515-282-7753. You can also find documents for download and click on the sample vocational assessment link.  I’m happy to help assess your client’s assessment needs! 

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

 

Emotions and Changing Your Mind….Don’t Lose Your Keys!

I mentioned in my last post that I would write more about my brother. We referred to him as: (and his name has to be said really fast) Steven John Patrick Henry Murphy Fred George John Prochnow. This is all I’m writing about my brother Steve at this time because I chose to change my mind on this week’s writing!

Change is what makes me go around and around! In this post I’m going to write about emotions and relationships.

During my master’s level coursework at Drake University, I started studying emotions and continually learn how to apply what I’ve learned in my own life.

Over the years, I’ve come to realize and accept that I’m pretty adept at identifying a person’s emotions. What to do with that knowledge is what matters, especially as an empathetic rehabilitation counselor like me, with abilities to sense people’s emotions, and imagine what s/he might be thinking or feeling, and consider how I can help (if needed to help).

Randy and me at home after a church picture ~ Fall 2011 (the shot of us in the church directory looks like we’re related to Frankenstein!)

As a complex creature each human is driven by emotions, beliefs and various points of view that most likely do not coincide perfectly (if at all) with yours (Now, Now Randy…).

It can be difficult to understand all the emotions sailing around another person’s head, especially within a cultural context and from situation to situation. So to make it simple, let’s just consider basic emotions that could be experienced.

Basic emotions

Emoticons

Anger

Happiness

Fear

Sadness

Surprise

Disgust

On top of basic emotions and beliefs, you or the other person may also be in any state of HALT – being Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. (I am so happy I learned this acronym way back as a new mom!) If so (may want to first address any state of HALT ASAP: hungry: eat; angry: cool down; lonely: become involved in the world around you; tired: rest!), there will be a need to be more sensitive to any choices or decisions you make with that person.

 Figure this sweetie out?  

If bursts of emotion become too much to handle, what can you do? My way of answering this question involves taking a look at how people in love chose to culminate and sustain a healthy relationship .

You can sense how they appreciate each other. They freely accept their differences. They both are confident, responsible and believe in trust. They simply allow each other to be their own person. In my eyes, that’s the key….to the front door (if you want in).

The Keys to the Front and to the Back Door

And to answer the question regarding how to handle “emotional outbursts” rests in changing your mind.  Choose to judge the situation or circumstance in exactly the opposite direction. The key to the back door (if you want out) is to change the way you think and feel about yourself and others. It’ll work, trust me!

Just be sure you’re not letting your feelings turn into facts….that will never happen.

 Always Keep Both Keys on Hand And DON’T LOSE EM!

Please let me know how I can help you help your clients. If a persons’ emotions are significantly part of your case, I can provide the person’s true story which explain to others why emotions matter.

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Feeding the Sharks…Even Babies Bite Hard!

[Original Post date: Marh 26, 2012] Feeding the Sharks…Even Babies Bite Hard!

I fed sharks!  Incredible!

To explain:  My son Jake (he’s a high school senior) needed help feeding the fish at Central Campus over spring break.  Central Campus is a regional academy of the Des Moines Public School District in Des Moines, Iowa. The campus provides extended and unique learning opportunities to students.

Jake is a student in the Aquarium Science program, taught by Kirk Embree.  In the program, students experience aquatic animal husbandry and aquaculture in a new facility modeled after a public aquarium.  The “fish” are on the 3rd flood of the “old tech high building” and you have to see it.  It’s very impressive.  The entire building is getting an incredible face lift (it used to be a Ford assembly plant).  I’m proud of what DMPS is doing to improve learning environments.

There are over 100 aquariums, totaling 16,000 gallons of saltwater

Last year, Jake and his cohort traveled to the Bahamas for a 10 day field ecology trip and explored the ocean…..and other areas of life while down there.  He certified in scuba diving for the trip.  What stories he shared…  We are privileged to have this wonderful learning academy accessible for our youth!   Here’s a short video about the marine program.

Sharks have all the senses we have (smell, taste, touch, eyesight, and hearing). They can also sense electricity and vibrations in the water. However, a shark’s primary sense is a keen sense of smell. It can detect one drop of blood in a million drops of water (~25 gallons) and can smell blood 0.25 mile away!  To feed the sharks, I used a realllly long needle with raw shrimp on the end.  They snatched it right up and I let out a bit of a scream!

That would bite!

To change tones of this post I have a question.  Have you seen the movie Swimming With Sharks (also known as The Boss and Buddy Factor)?  It’s a 1994 American comedy drama film, directed and written by George Huang.

Buddy Ackerman, an influential movie mogul, hires Guy, a naïve young writer, as his assistant. Guy, who has just graduated from film school, believes that his new job is a golden opportunity. Despite warnings from Rex, the outgoing assistant who has become hardened under Buddy’s reign, Guy remains optimistic……..Unfortunately, Buddy turns out to be the boss from hell…..

The above is from From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I’d rather feed than swim with the sharks!

A “shark” can be a greedy or ruthless or treacherous person.  I tend to understand that “swimming with sharks” means “working with ruthless, back-stabbing people who will stop at nothing to achieve their own goals (profit).” In this sense, a shark doesn’t care what he does to you or a company. He “attacks fiercely” in order to achieve his own goals. The “attack” could be perfectly legal, even though it might hurt a lot of other people.

Pay attention to “sharks”

I counsel clients through the job placement process, and we pay attention if it appears there’s sharky behaviors coming from potential employers.  I also counsel myself when it comes to the potential of swimming in water that may be infested with sharks.  In a future post I will talk about my role in litigated cases as an Expert Witness.  Stay tuned and keep watch!

 Even baby sharks bite hard!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people find a place in the workforce

Solutions for People With Disabilities

Solutions for People With Disabilities


Job Placement Services

Matching People With Their World of Work

Matching People Within Their Own World of Work

Job Analyses & Job Descriptions

Life Care Planning Services

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Occupational Health Consultation

Rehabilitation Counseling*

*For more information visit CRCC | Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification, CRC
www.crccertification.com/

I LOVE REHAB

Vocational Case Management

Vocational Resources Plus, LLC * lcpresourcesplus.com * 515-282-7753  * VocResources@msn.com

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Vocational Research Assignments & Staffing Placements

Vocational Resources, Plus consults on workers’ compensation, personal injury and disability cases by providing qualitative research services and consultation as well as direct service provision. Due to the nature of return-to-work, each vocational assignment is situational and individualized. The goal is to provide a clear and concise picture of the employment options currently available to the evaluee or client.Related imageResearch is based on a wide range of criteria and utilizes solid methodology and fact gathering techniques. Accurate and objective reporting details up-to-date information to define and enhance the direction of the case.

Assignments vary greatly, and include differences in level of education, skills, abilities, aptitudes, socio-economic factors, physical limitations and an assortment of employability factors.

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Vocational Resources, Plus has performed indepth research on many vocations and identified various factors that have helped to prioritize issues for the case at hand.

For a listing of vocations, please click on the link on my website. Also, as a matter of fact, I’ve also placed hundreds of workers throughout Des Moines. Here’s my client roster list from my days as a marketing representative for a staffing company:

Client Reference List

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now old piece of paper, you’ve been recycled! Please let me know what I could do to help you help your clients!

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My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Benefits of Vocational Assessment

A vocational assessment is an integral component in vocational rehabilitation. Depending on the perspective, vocational assessment has many benefits and is used for many different applicable purposes.

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A vocational assessment can be used to:

  • determine a person’s potential for work, the content of a vocational training program, his or her employability or ability to adapt to different work environments.
  • assist an individual to make realistic job training and career choices based on their interests, abilities, aptitudes, and the realities of the job market.
  • help counselors, rehabilitation professionals and employment placement specialists work more effectively with their clients.
  • help trainers and instructors adapt to the needs of the person with a disability.
  • help administrators use resources more wisely.
  • help employers make better hiring selections.
  • make recommendations about the person’s work-life!

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For a detailed look into how I perform a vocational assessment, please take a look at the Sample Vocational Assessment & Evaluation Report on my website.

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 My professional rehabilitation counseling practice is focused on helping people participate in the world around them, particularly in their own world of work.

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

MEDIA CONTACT:
Connie R. Ward
info@lcpresourcesplus.com

VOCATIONAL RESOURCES PLUS ANNOUNCES LIFE CARE PLANNING SERVICES

DES MOINES, IA – Vocational Resources Plus, LLC  is launching a new service to help families and other organizations plan for long term health care needs by matching necessary care with the costs of providing that care.

The service, which produces an individual “Life Care Plan,” creates a guide to care that families can use to answer questions regarding future medical care and costs associated with an individual’s life-long healthcare needs.

And families aren’t the only ones to benefit from care planning that matches needs with costs. Insurance companies, law firms and others also need to know what care is necessary, and how much it will cost.

“With all the changes we are experiencing in healthcare service delivery, life care planning benefits individuals and companies involved in decision-making” says Vocational Resources Plus owner Amy Botkin. “We all want the most and the best, but there are costs attached to everything a patient needs”

“For example, litigated claims, when being addressed by a jury, need accurate information about care and costs to help in determining fair and equitable claims, payments and settlements.”

Botkin, a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Drake graduate, has partnered with Sharon Hamilton, RN, CNLP, to add Life Care Planning to the range of services already available through Vocational Resources Plus. Hamilton, a Certified Nurse Life Care Planner, sees another benefit.

“Life Care Planning services incorporate vocational rehabilitation into the care planning process. With Amy’s expertise in job placement, combined with trends in assistive technology, we are well equipped to return the person to gainful employment with an accountable cost structure. This helps the bottom line.”

Botkin has been providing vocational consultative services to the insurance and legal industry since 1999. Hamilton, a Registered Nurse, has more than 20 years experience in home care case management, including eight years focusing on persons with disabilities.

The life care planning process draws on three areas of practice: Worker Compensation, Personal Injury and Long Term Disability. Vocational Resources Plus, LLC consults with people who want help to address the intricacies of insurance claims in these areas.

For more information, please contact Amy E. Botkin at 515-282-7753 http://www.linkedin.com/in/amybotkin

Vocational Resources Plus, owned by Amy E. Botkin, identified the need for services in Des Moines, a major insurance center with nearly 60 life, health, and casualty companies.