Kathie Dunn talks about Donna Stephenson, REACH Respiratory Care Specialist.

What do you appreciate most about Donna?

Donna’s passion for her patients and their excellent care  is second to none. She fuses this with a compassion and motivation to provide stellar training, education, and equipment resources to our internal and external customers. Her dedication to REACH is a long-standing beacon that guides her path. She has truly found her calling as the REACH Respiratory Care Specialist.

How do you think Donna gives back to her colleagues at REACH?

She has a direct impact on our ability to offer the highest quality standards in our efforts to positively affect lives. Donna has extensive experience caring for critically ill patients. She has also ventured into the management pathway. Her current position affords her the opportunity to intersect her knowledge of the past as she creates the future for our company, our communities, our crews, and our patients.

We sit down with Donna.

How long have you been working for REACH?

I have been with REACH for twelve years now.

How many positions have you held here?

Three total. I’ve worked on the medical crew, as a general manager and am now a clinical manager.

How would you summarize your current job?

One word nowadays — FULL, but honestly the BEST job ever. I like to think of my position as really being a subject matter expert and equipment resource for the medical crews.

In absolute summary: There are now 7 different vents to train on, two major modes of ventilation, a patient population consisting of neonates through adults, 7 states, and 31 bases.

In 2015, I actually managed to hit every existing REACH base in person, with the exception of our newly acquired ones, for ventilator management training– it was a personal best. Not to mention 12 Training Academy’s and daily CQI for the now 31 bases.

What do you appreciate most about your co-workers?

I appreciate the fact that all of us at REACH share the same passion, drive, and dedication to our work, each other, our patients and customers. I feel very lucky to work with such humble, experienced, and brilliant people that are all committed to doing the right thing.

What would you say inspires you most to give back to the people you work with?

My inspiration comes from the people themselves in this company, we are a unique organization. Regardless of the base, state or department, I visit, I am surrounded by pride, dedication and a genuine and welcoming team attitude infused with respect and appreciation.

I find my area of expertise exclusive as it is one of the few clinical areas that most of our medical crew haven’t been able to yet fully master. Setting the bar and helping them prepare to be their best is a challenge and truly inspiring.

On the hard days at work, what motivates you to keep going?

I think primarily it’s my passion to help others in the mission and values that define us as a company.

What helps me through hard days the most is believing the work I may be struggling through is actually adding something to someone else’s tool belt or survival kit to make their performance hopefully better.

There is always the genuine gratitude of the medical crewmembers. They appreciate us being there for them, and that gives me daily motivation

On a separate note, with my experiences as someone on the ‘other side’, the parent of a severely asthmatic son, has given me ridiculously high expectations that have unfortunately been met at best satisfactorily. My motivation from this perspective is to provide the best possible training I can for our crews so they have the ability to deliver excellent care way above normal expectations and make a positive difference that is priceless.

I am guessing there are numerous people in the world that will never be able to truly say, “I love what I do” at the end of any given day. In the end, I can honestly say I love what I do.

In your opinion, what can others learn from giving back?

To me, the message is genuine satisfaction. I can honestly say that I would not feel the level of professional satisfaction that I experience every day if it wasn’t for the part of giving back. The great thing is giving back comes in so many varieties; it’s positively contagious and is never ending. It is the best part of my job.

What would you say has been the most rewarding experience of your career with REACH?

There are actually a few, but hands down, being given the opportunity to take what I know and love and share with such amazing people and feel I made a difference. The autonomy is a huge bonus as it promotes personal creativity with no limits.

Being a significant part of the neonatal program starting from the ground up is a privilege and another level of reward in itself.

The ability to integrate with and learn from all the elite teams within REACH is a blessing.

Who is in your family?

My 13-year-old twin boys, Jacob, and Lucas.

What is your favorite kind of cookie?

I’d have to say chocolate chip cookies, but really it’s just the dough that I like.

If a movie were made about your life, what actress would you want to play your role?

Probably Kate Hudson or Meg Ryan. My kids would say Jennifer Aniston