Friday, May 9, 2008

5 Questions for Brenda Harris, Records Clerk

5 Questions is our ongoing feature where we introduce you to the people who make Brandywine Counseling run, spotlighting a different staff member every two weeks.

Name: Brenda Harris
Job: Records Clerk, Lancaster Center
Time with BCI: 20 years

1. Tell us what you do at BCI.
The job that I do consists of putting charts together, doing admissions, discharges, basically making sure the paperwork is filed correctly and on time, answer the phones, just a little bit of everything. It’s a lot of paperwork, but it’s what I like to do, and I enjoy it.

I might spend 2-3 hours just working on admissions, and then start on my discharges, making sure the paperwork is there, breaking the charts down, or I might just file. It’s one of those jobs where I’m not bothered a lot, I don’t have someone standing over me to make sure that I’m doing what I need to do. People trust what I do. I love what I do. I’m not sure if anyone could have the patience that I have to do this. So far, in my 20 years, I haven’t gotten bored with it yet.

I think the biggest challenge is trying to get everything done. It’s like it’s always ongoing, and as soon as I think I’m basically done with a project, then it starts all over again. If I can go home at the end of the day and say that I have everything done, I would be happy!

2. What changes have you seen in your nearly 20 years with BCI?
When I started at Brandywine, I didn’t really know what it was. It was a little tiny office. There was one cabinet for admissions, one cabinet for discharges, and one cabinet for evaluations. I would say probably about 100 [clients were here], probably a little less than that. I was interviewed by Janice Sneed, and she basically told me what the job was going to be, and I started, and lo and behold, I’ve been here ever since.

To come in and start working at Brandywine, and to meet clients, and then they end up becoming counselors here, that’s been rewarding to me. And making good friends. Just seeing the changes, seeing Brandywine grow from one floor into many different sites, has been truly amazing to me.

When I started back in ’88, the clientele was older than I was. They were a little friendlier. The clients today are much younger than when they used to come into treatment back then. Now I’m starting to meet the children of past clients, the personalities are a little different.

There is a whole population, the age group of 18 to 25, who don’t know about treatment, who don’t know where to go. They’re either too proud, or they don’t think they have a problem. They don’t see mentors. And I know that the word about BCI is out there - but there’s a population that’s still out there struggling. Just to know that there are people that care about you, just to come in and see whatever you need to get, and all the other things will fall into place. That hits home for me, because there are so many young men and women in that age group who are just struggling. And I know that we see a lot of kids coming in, but getting them in and keeping them in, so they can take their first steps to live their life sober, and just their whole quality of life.

3. BCI is moving toward totally electronic records. How is that going to change what you do?
I’ve been doing this paperwork for so long, I would love to see something different. Everybody’s going electronic now. It’s going to be a learning process, a learning process that I would need to know, and that I would love to know. It’s going to be a challenge to learn, to make that change, but I think it’s going to be a wonderful challenge for me, I really do. I think it’s about time, and I’m ready for it!

4. Tell us your favorite client success story.
I don’t think I have a favorite client. If I had to pick one, it’s one client, much older. Every time I see him - and I don’t see him that often - he always asks me, have I been on vacation? And we always start laughing about that, and I say, “No, they moved me to the basement, that’s why you don’t see me that much!” So I would say he would be one of my favorites, but I’ve never come across a client that I’d say that I dislike, I think I like all of them.

5. If you had $30,000 to donate to BCI, what would you do with it?
I would give it to the Perinatal program. They have a lot of single women and children. And being a single mother, and going back to school and changing my quality of life, I would give it to that department. Because if there’s ever one mother who would like to go back to school, to continue her education, to change her quality of life - just one - I would like that. Children need to see a change, and mothers can do that for their children, to break that cycle. It’s about changing your quality of life, and that’s what I think I would do with it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing such a great job! You are appreciated very much!