NADSP E-Badge Earner of the Month: Andrea Miller

by | Jun 3, 2021 | News

Congratulations to Andrea Miller who has been selected as the NADSP E-Badge Academy Earner of the Month for June of 2021. Andrea is being recognized for her excellent ‘Researcher’ E-Badge submission. This badge represents a Direct Support Professionals’ work in seeking feedback from many sources in use to improve work performance and skills.This badge is part of the Education, Training and Self-Development CMS Core Competency. It also aligns with the NADSP Competency Area of Education, Training and Self-Development.

Andrea works as a House Coordinator for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota’s vision states, “All people have the opportunity to live and work in community with full and abundant lives.” Learn more about Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota by clicking here. 

Andrea’s Experiences With The NADSP E-Badge Academy

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) recently asked Andrea about her experiences with the NADSP E-Badge Academy. The questions covered how she carries out her work as a direct support professional, the skill sets she demonstrates on a daily basis, the impact that the E-Badge Academy has had on her professional recognition, and how she gets credit for competency.

1. Describe the story you shared in carrying out that competency

Two people I support have anxiety. The more I learned about anxiety, the more I realized that some of the attitudes and actions I saw as “bad attitudes” were actually due to their anxiety. I learned how to support them more skillfully during times when their anxiety rises, so that they could manage their anxiety better. Replacing prejudice with knowledge made me a better support professional.

2. Why is this competency so important to DSPs?

Learning more about the health challenges of the people we support is foundational to our work. Doctors and nurses go to school for years to learn about health issues; we DSPs learn as we go. Expanding our knowledge increases our effectiveness.

3. How have you used this competency in your work?

The two people I support who have anxiety, I work with them almost every day. So every day is an opportunity to put into practice what I learned about supporting people with anxiety. It is also valuable to know that there is a world of information out there; I can be ready to learn more about any number of challenges that might come along for the people I support.

4. How can other DSPs replicate your practices?

In researching, I started with an internet search. I selected some articles from reputable sources – I like starting with WebMD or the Mayo Clinic site. Another resource I used was the Psychology Today site. Then for a more personal insight I looked for blogs by people with anxiety. I found some on Tumblr and followed them. Those blogs were helpful in showing what it felt like on the inside to experience anxiety, and differences between what bystanders might think would be helpful to a person experiencing anxiety and what actually does help.

5. How does the NADSP E-Badge Academy benefit your Agency?

The eBadge Academy is an opportunity to connect with the larger community of this profession, to ensure that we are plugged into a whole world of competency, education and viewpoints on the work we do, rather than just focused on our own little bubble. This increases our effectiveness as we provide support to people with disabilities and can increase our commitment to the work we do.

6. How does NADSP E-Badge Academy benefit the People I Support?

As I increase my knowledge level, I can provide better supports. Because almost all of the eBadge courses require a comment on how the work relates to the Code of Ethics, I end up keeping the Code of Ethics front and center in my attention. That sharpens my commitment to providing person-centered services, allowing the people I support to exercise agency in their lives.

7. What does the future hold for your involvement in NADSP E-Badge Academy?

I am currently working on my DSP-III eBadge. Because I am a House Coordinator, currently working more than 50% direct care, I plan to go on to the Frontline Supervisor eBadges next.

8. How has the NADSP E-Badge Academy affected your professional image? Do you feel stronger professional identity with your occupation?

Is it okay to admit I like the bragging rights when I got my certificates for DSP-I and DSP-II? These pieces of paper reflect a lot of hard work and passion for person-centered service. While I have recognized my interior commitment to this profession for 20 years and more, these credentials publicly display my commitment to this profession as well as this commitment of the profession in return.

9. Do you feel more skilled?

Yes. And here is why: Using the NADSP Code of Ethics as a guide for my work is not a one-and-done experience. Just as people are complex and have many layers that we may continually discover new things about the people know and value, the Code of Ethics is complex and has many layers. There is something new to learn every day about people, and about how to do this work.

10. How does NADSP E-Badge Academy give you credit for competency?

When I submit a testimonial, sometimes it needs work. The feedback I get helps me focus on displaying the relevant skills in a way that is easier to recognize in an objective way. Those who evaluate the testimonials are working from a standard and a deep understanding of the competencies we are working to display with the eBadges. When one of my eBadges gets approved whether it went through on the first attempt or needed revision, I can be confident that I met those standards. Since they are in Open Badge format, it is possible for someone from outside my organization or outside NADSP to access information about what a given eBadge actually means.

Well Wishes from Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

“Andrea started her journey with NADSP credentialing under the old system. When it changed she was able to take what she had started and convert to using the new E-Badge system.

We have a Microsoft Teams channel for all the people in our organization who are in the NADSP E-Badge Credentialing program to share insights, ask questions and stay updated.  Andrea has been the most active on the site. She gives Kudos as we recognize people for accomplishments, shares how the knowledge and skills she has have helped her in her job, offers to support her co-workers with information and also answers questions learners have that she has experience with.

I value her input and she is an inspiration and great role model to the other people who are in the program. We are blessed to have her work at Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.”

-Deb Koop, Statewide Director of Quality and Training

The NADSP E-Badge Academy

The NADSP E-Badge Academy offers Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) and Frontline Supervisors (FLSs)  the ability to earn national certification through stackable electronic badges. These badges demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and values that these professionals utilize every day, recognizing the professional development that might otherwise go unacknowledged.  Through the NADSP E-Badge Academy, DSPs and FLSs are acknowledged for the experience and education that they bring to the human services field.

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The vision of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP) is a world with a highly qualified and professional direct support workforce that partners with, supports, and empowers people with disabilities to lead a life of their choosing. NADSP works to elevate the status of direct support professionals by improving practice standards, promoting system reform, and advancing their knowledge, skills and values, through certification, credentialing, training, professional development, and accreditation services.