Hospice of the Midwest’s exceptional care doesn’t start and stop with its patients. Part of its wholesome community care includes supporting its employees.
Recently, Lynnea Andersen, Executive Director Hospice of the Midwest, received the Patriot Award for her efforts supporting Registered Nurse (RN) Case Manager Jessica Soderblom in the Iowa National Guard.
“It was quite unexpected and pretty much left me speechless,” said Andersen. “It is for contributing to national security and protecting liberty by supporting employee participation in America’s National Guard and Reserve Force. So that is pretty cool…I am truly humbled.”
The award is from the Office of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).
According to ESGR’s website, “The Patriot Award reflects the efforts made to support citizen warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.”
Soderblom nominated Andersen. Soderblom has served in the Iowa National Guard for 15 years and has been working for the Hospice of the Midwest for one year.
“The Army paid for all of my schooling to become a nurse. It has helped me come to where I am today,” said Soderblom. “When it comes to employers and their outlook on National Guard members, we have to have that good relationship. Just knowing I have Lynnea there to back me up and to feel supported for both roles is truly amazing.”
Soderblom has done a few flood duty tours, supported communities for 4th of July parades, and from 2006 to 2007 she was activated for border patrol in San Diego.
Soderblom has not been called to deployment since working at Hospice of the Midwest but is scheduled for a 6-week career advancement course with the National Guard this summer.
“We support her because she doesn’t have to take a vacation or alter her job at all,” said Andersen. “Throughout the year at any given time she may have to go serve our country and we have decided as a company we are going to shoulder her load of work while she is out doing what she needs to do for our country.”
Andersen said Soderblom won’t miss out on any type of employee benefits and she won’t be penalized for her absence.
“It makes us a wholesome company because we are looking at the big picture of life in general,” said Andersen. “We have the opportunity to help so many people. Jessica helps our staff understand what it’s like to be in the military, and how they can better serve our patients and families.”
Since 1973, the United States Military has been an all-voluntary force. Lisa Whitmarsh Peterson, the Military Outreach Coordinator of ESGR, said Hospice of the Midwest is showing the community its patriotism through proactive policies to hire military and support them. There are also great benefits for Hospice of the Midwest.
“Benefits are numerous,” wrote Peterson in an email. “The Citizen Soldier is a highly trained, reliable, drug-free professional, that is a leader with a global perspective. The employer benefits by the ability to access personnel with this highly-skilled training, which can be of benefit to their firm, while providing employment for some of our nation’s finest.”
Hospice of the Midwest creates a work environment where people want to go to work. Besides supporting Soderblom, Andersen said the company also has an on-call nurse, who is an honorably discharged veteran from the Navy, it has a great group of veteran volunteers and provides special care to the Iowa Veteran’s Home in Marshalltown Iowa.
“My philosophy is if we can’t take care of our employees we can’t take care of our patients,” said Andersen. “We have to take care of our employees because they do a lot of hard work for our patients. They shoulder a lot of grief, trial, and tribulations of our patients and families. We want to make the best out of those days, weeks, months that they have left so we also need to make sure we are taking care of each other.”
The ESGR- Patriotic Employer Award that Andersen received represents her work philosophy; it brings both Service Members and Employers together in common understanding and appreciation for their collective efforts.
“SGT Jessica Soderblom and Lynnea Andersen are to be commended for fostering this high degree of support for our country’s military force,” wrote Peterson.