For former addiction patients now in recovery, RCA at Devon provides a life- and career-changing second chance
Authored by Ken Redmile
Talk to many alumni now successfully in recovery who were treated at a Recovery Centers of America (RCA) facility – especially at RCA at Devon – and they’ll look you straight in the eye and tell you, not only that RCA saved their lives, but that they loved the culture and people so much, and we’re so grateful for their help, that many want to work there – and devote their lives to helping others have the same experience.
In fact, a large percentage of the staff at RCA Devon and companywide are in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction, within virtually every level of the organization and every department. And now, with the increase in Alcohol Use Disorder, Substance Use Disorder, and Co-Occurring Disorders, RCA is recruiting dedicated individuals for hundreds of positions to assist the RCA staff in the battle against addiction.
For RCA employee Hector Melendez whose recovery journey took him from the streets at age 14 with trauma and addiction to his current role at RCA at Devon as a Recovery Support Specialist, the work has been immensely rewarding. For Julie Toy, who is also in recovery and began working in the RCA Mission Center — the RCA network’s mission-driven hotline for 24/7 help—the work has been a great fit and she was recently promoted to Devon Alumni Coordinator.
Says Julie, “This place is amazing. I really can’t imagine working anywhere else. Where patients might think, ‘nobody understands me,’ here they DO understand because numerous staff have been through the recovery journey themselves! They’ve been where the patient is. And now I’m the lucky one who gets to help others in the same position.”
RCA at Devon CEO Steve Wicke describes it this way. “We value our team members who are in recovery from addiction. They are people with shared experiences, who understand what others have been through, and have a very special bond and can lift each other up. From our leadership and executive staff to our frontline employees, many of our employees are in recovery. In fact, having teammates in recovery is vital to our success. The level of empathy that you find, in treatment and then even more in recovery, is pretty unique. The staff serves as role models for the patients.”
Director of Nursing Sarah Rivera, who has been at RCA Devon for 5 years, and Kate Driscoll, whose background is in critical care nursing and now works for the RCA Mission Center, both credit RCA with saving their lives and are committed to helping others in recovery look to RCA for a positive workplace environment.
“There is hope here,” says Kate, whose life changed when she began to struggle with alcohol at age 40 but didn’t enter treatment until the age of 48. “To be a nurse by occupation and find yourself in an addiction healthcare facility because you need treatment yourself – there’s so much shame involved. You come in the door broken and tearful. And then you see that the staff – everyone – they GET it. There’s hope and direction when people have lost both.”
Sarah Rivera concurs. “Working at RCA allows me to combine my two greatest passions – nursing and recovery. My journey was long and complicated. I relapsed. I almost lost my life to a stabbing in a halfway house. And it was RCA that helped change my thinking and gave me hope. RCA continues to change her thinking and offer new experiences and hope with its multifaceted approach to addiction. It continues to evolve who I am. There’s no shame here. No need to hide. Only opportunity to do the work you love and help others.”
With the worsening of the opioid crisis and the increase in alcohol use disorder as a result of COVID, nurses and staff are a constant need at treatment facilities across the country.
“Nurses and staff come from all walks of life and all different backgrounds,” says Wicke. “What matters the most is what we all have in common: a passion for helping our patients who are suffering from addiction. Addiction doesn’t discriminate. When it comes to treating addiction, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. In other words, we accept you for who you are. Your past doesn’t dictate your future here.”
“Part of what makes RCA unique is its Alumni Association,” says Julie, “which offers continuous support, and an invitation to participate in social and educational programs to assist graduates on their recovery journey, including, for some, the chance to begin to work at RCA with an eye towards a permanent position. I’ve been so lucky to find a fulfilling home here, and I’d really love to be able to help others do the same.”
Competitive rates and sign-on bonuses are offered at select RCA sites for Nurses and Clinical roles Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Licensed Therapists, Counselors, Licensed Practical Nurses, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, and Case Managers, and Admissions Coordinators. Also in high demand are Recovery Support Specialists, who assist with patients’ daily living and support nursing and medical staff. RCA treatment centers in six states will be hiring on both the inpatient and outpatient side, full-time and part-time. Many other positions need to be filled as well at RCA sites. Visit the RCA career site at recoverycentersofamerica.com/careers-at-rca/ for more information and to apply.
Recovery Centers of America (RCA) is dedicated to helping patients achieve a life of recovery through evidence-based alcohol and drug addiction treatment. RCA has ten inpatient substance use disorder treatment facilities in the United States in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Indiana, and Illinois. RCA also has outpatient programs near all inpatient facilities and alongside medication for addiction treatment programs in New Jersey (including Somerdale, Camden County, Trenton, and Woodbridge) and Pennsylvania (Lansdowne), as well as telehealth treatment services. A digital connection program for RCA patients and others in recovery is incorporated into the treatment program using a new software app called ShoutoutTM to further support the treatment experience and recovery journey afterwards. Patients can obtain immediate substance use disorder care by calling 1-800-RECOVERY.
“For former addiction patients now in recovery, RCA at Devon provides a life- and career-changing second chance”, April 27, 2022, PRNewswire, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/for-former-addiction-patients-now-in-recovery-rca-at-devon-provides–a-life—and-career—changing-second-chance-301533433.html?tc=eml_cleartime