KPG Healthcare is back with another addition to our Candidate Spotlight Series! This month, we are featuring an individual from our Allied Professionals division who has been with KPG Healthcare since 2017.
Let’s Meet Linda!
Linda started her career with KPG Healthcare as a Medical Caseworker at the Los Angeles County Twin Towers Jail in 2017. Since then, Linda has completed her master’s degree in Social Work at California State University, Dominguez Hills, all while working 40-hours a week, raising a 17-year-old son and obtaining internships for her curriculum
Linda’s interest in the social services field stemmed when her mother ran a foster home during her teenage years. This motivated her to pursue a career in the social services field, which led her to complete her master’s in 2020. Today, Linda is now a psychiatric social worker for the Department of Care Transitions – Correctional Health Services providing assistance and resources for soon-to-be-released incarcerated inmates.
As a medical caseworker, her roles and responsibilities varied from accessing inmates, conducting full assessment for their needs (housing, transportation, medical/mental health), making medical appointments and more. Working in a correctional facility can be intimidating as you never know when things can go wrong.
“What was scary was not knowing if the inmates were going to be triggered by some stimuli where we could be in trouble,” Linda explained, “nothing ever happened but the inmates know we are there to help them.”
The homeless population and epidemic that the city of Los Angeles has been fighting for years have affected accessibility to essential needs. “Finding enough housing and resources for everyone is a challenge – it is a crisis we are facing globally,” Linda said.
To overcome these obstacles, social workers have to prioritize the most severe inmates and make sure the resources provided are utilized. Communicating with internal and external personnel for available resources is a big factor to avoid any bumps in the road.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Linda – along with so many other essential workers – was without proper access to PPE. “The only thing we had was gloves, not even masks,” Linda said, “it wasn’t until approximately six months after the pandemic started, we received PPE – one gown a day, one shield a day, one mask a day and as many gloves.” Correctional facilities across the nation struggled to provide resources, protection and healthcare for both inmates and employees.
Luckily, Linda and her colleagues were one of the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccines. But COVID-19 was anything but easy for a single mother juggling school, work and internships. “Coffee and Red Bulls were my best friends,” Linda said humorously.
As someone working a full-time position, raising a son, handling internships and a master’s program, Linda grew both professionally and personally. The month she started at KPG Healthcare was also the month she began her master’s program. As she was learning, she applied her knowledge into her work such as writing skills for clinical reports, communication between external personnel, building interpersonal connections and keeping herself organized.
Linda went from a medical caseworker to a psychiatric social worker in three years at the LA County Twin Towers Correctional Facility. When asking about the growth in her roles she said, “I enjoyed so many things but being a caseworker opened my eyes to a whole new world by giving me other opportunities to grow by being exposed to clinicians.”
“[This role] helped me understand it is normal for people to have mental health conditions, we just don’t talk about it. It changed my perspective for why it is we serve this community and that everything we do is a snowball effect.”
The pandemic has taught us that self-care, mental health and doing the things you love are important for your overall health. As a single mother, one of the things she enjoyed during the pandemic was being able to spend more time with her 17-year-old son, who is graduating high school next month. Linda and her son have discovered a shared love of trying new restaurants on the weekends, but nothing beats their favorite – Texas BBQ.
As the world slowly starts to open back up and traveling is becoming an option, Linda would love the opportunity to travel to Alaska! She is a nature person who loves to go hiking and one day hopes to go white water rafting and ziplining.
From all of us here at KPG Healthcare, we just want to say thank you for your service to the incarcerated community. To obtain a master’s degree while working a full-time job, raising a 17-year-old and having internships is truly remarkable. We congratulate you on all of your success and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you and your son. Keep up the great work!
Advice for anyone interested in Social Work:
- Work a job in social services – that’ll expose you to the environment.
- Get your master’s – that’ll take you to a different level of care for others.