A Conversation with Community Dental Assistant Alexsia Lozano

Community Dental Assistant Alexsia Lozano (left) and Quality Improvement Manager Shelly Santa Cruz (right) at the End of Daycamp Summer Party.

Alexsia Lozano, a Community Dental Assistant at NHC, found herself taking on a new job description at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic: daycare coordinator.  In March of 2020, as NHC’s dental clinics temporarily closed for the safety of our patients and staff, our dental teams opened a daycare service for frontline medical staff at our administrative office in Tigard.  Alexsia was at the forefront of this service and here shares her experience working at NHC’s DayCamp, how it has impacted her career, and what she has taken away from this experience.

Q:  Tell us about how you came to be working an NHC daycare.

With all the unpredictable changes the beginning of the pandemic brought, I wasn’t sure what I could do to remain employed in dentistry when all our dental clinics had temporarily closed.  I told my supervisor I would do anything to stay at the organization, and the following week I received a call offering me a position to work at an emergency daycare NHC was creating for our essential workers.

As a former teacher, this was right in my wheelhouse – it felt like I was back in the classroom.

In just the first week, I got to know the kids and see how flexible staff were, jumping in to support the daycare efforts.

I loved building relationships with my “students” at the daycare and watching them grow throughout our time together.

Q:  How did the daycare affect NHC staff members?

The daycare impacted NHC staff in a number of positive ways.  It fulfilled the immediate need of childcare for our essential workers.  It ensured employment for much of the dental staff during an uncertain time – no one had to worry about losing their jobs due to the pandemic because NHC found a way to keep everyone employed.  It also allowed staff to learn a variety of new skills through collaboration, teamwork, and training opportunities.

These few months of DayCamp gave us the opportunity to build meaningful relationships, lean on each other, and display our compassion within the NHC community.

Q:  What is your favorite memory from running the daycare?

My favorite memory from the daycare was our End of DayCamp Summer Party.  This party was so much fun for staff and kids alike!  Some of the highlights were tie dying t-shirts, a water balloon fight, and a series of carnival games with prizes.  Somehow in the height of this pandemic when so many were experiencing fear, uncertainty, and loss, we were able to bring joy to these kids’ faces and help their parents through a time of intense stress and difficulty.

Q:   What did you take away from this experience?

This was such a rewarding experience.  My biggest takeaway was that if we set our minds on something, we can do it!  NHC’s leadership demonstrated the mission of our company through DayCamp by not only continuing to care for patients during this difficult time, but by also treating each NHC employee a “neighbor” and creating the healthy community for us that was so needed during this challenging time.  This act of service resulted in strengthening the sense of community, teamwork, and care we provide for both patients and staff.  Their compassionate efforts and attitude inspired me to share my ideas on how we could collaborate to create a wholesome experience for our kids and families.

Q:   How has this experience impacted your professional journey with NHC?

My experience with DayCamp greatly increased my appreciation for NHC.  It demonstrated the care our company has for its employees in a tangible way.  Throughout these times, many in the community lost their jobs and experienced financial hardship, but NHC employees were given the opportunity to carry each other through this traumatic event together.  It made me feel really valued as an employee.

This experience also instilled in me a new level of trust in the organization and its leadership.

During this time, I learned that I could rely on NHC to do their very best to provide safety and security for staff.

This is an invaluable and rare characteristic to find in an organization.

While Alexsia has worked at NHC since 2019, she has recently gone back to school to obtain a degree in counseling to pursue her love of working with children as a school counselor.  We appreciate her time at NHC and the work she has done in our community and are proud to support her personal growth and development in this next stage of her career.

If you would like to read more about NHC’s efforts at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, read about it on our blog.