Only 3 Weeks Away!

Happy January to you all from us here at Tobosa Developmental Services in Roswell, NM.  I wanted to start the New Year off by expressing how very excited I am about the National Conference in Vancouver, WA!  We were lucky enough to get selected to do 3 presentations during the conference.  I am looking forward to networking with new people and to seeing some great familiar faces.  We will be taking a group of 6 from here (including Bill Jones and I – who will both be presenting).  What an awesome experience we had at the other conferences we attended and we have no doubts that this one will be just as awesome.

One of the things we are working on here in Roswell, is to use the Training Academy more formally this year.  We have been using it since Nationals last year, very informally.  We use it now to learn about new modules as we attempt to use them within our agency.  But starting in 2016 we are looking at implementing them into our New Employee Orientation Training.  It is exciting and I can’t wait to see how we make it work for us.

I could blog on for hours, but I will wrap it up – and save my breathe for our presentations – Can you believe it is in 3 weeks from today?!?!  Ahhhhh!!!!!  Better get back to preparing -ha ha.  See you guys there.


New Mexico Regional Conference

We just got back on Friday after getting to TRAIN at the Regional Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  It was great to see some returning faces from last year and to meet some new people as well.  I feel like over all the conference was great and it added an avenue for fellow Therap Guru’s to brainstorm and trouble shoot.  I feel like New Mexico is well on it’s way up in the Therap world.  The state as a whole seems to be using Therap much more that what it is mandated for.  There of course are some that have not caught on to all of it’s capabilities, but also many that have.

So, just wanted to touch base and say that we had a great time and were very honored to actually train others at the conference.  We are even talking about starting a New Mexico User Group and had several other people interested.

It was very worth it!

By |2015-06-01T22:44:39+00:00June 1st, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on New Mexico Regional Conference

To Say “HI” and my frustration with Outrageous Deadlines

So, to begin with I wanted to say, “HI!”  I am a newly (since March) Certified Trainer.  This is my first blog post.  But I am eyebrow deep in this new Therap project I have started and thought I would take a quick breath of fresh air (while madly treading my feet) and say hi.   I am guessing that someone is saying – “well, here comes the details of this new (to this blog) person” to themselves.  I would hate to disappoint, so I will tell you a little about myself and HOPE that at least ONE person said that to themselves….

I am Jessica D. Dunn.  I work at Tobosa Developmental Services in Roswell NM.  (Yes, we have aliens; and No, they are not usually green).  I thought I should just get that out of the way.  I am currently the Incident Management Coordinator.  (Of course, I could put about 4 other titles behind that, just like most of you I am sure, but I will spare you the details). I have been with Tobosa for about 3 years but in the DD field for 11 years.  I could tell you more about myself, but I am pretty sure that is not why you are reading this blog.  Maybe if I include a few details each time that I post, you will get to know me.  Or better yet, register for our Regional Conference here in NM and come meet me.

My legs are getting tired of treading, so I guess I will go on with the actual purpose of this post – Outrageous Deadlines.  I committed us to a deadline last week.  I was very passionate (for lack of a better word) that we would get all of the “Outcomes” (for everyone getting services through our program) into Therap to begin tracking electronically (vs. paper) by MAY 1, 2015.    The discussion in which I made this commitment came only after a frustrating meeting where our huge strides with Therap were being downplayed.  I was pretty heated about the lack of acknowledgment we had gotten in our efforts. I also felt like I was needing to push our acceleration.  I have this concern that when we stop pushing, we kill it.  Like when driving a standard transmission vehicle.  If you are in gear and take your foot off of the gas, for long enough, you will kill it.  So, with great conviction, in my very confident voice I made my declaration.  It wasn’t until the next day (last Thursday) that I began counting the # of people receiving services from us that I started to get a little concerned about what I had just committed.  Upon, counting the people, I then started counting days.  I am sure that in my sub-conscious I knew when May the 1st was – but definitely, I did not know that it was a week away.

So, I retook the “ISP Program and Template” Training Academy Course for the second time (I figured I had absolutely NO time to waste, making mistakes).  Then I jumped.  Luckily, the offices on either side of mine, heard my hesitation in the form of pep talks to myself and anyone who questioned the very small time frame.  I am glad to say that they have jumped in too.  So, here we sit.  Just putting it all in.  I am proud to say that we are almost half way through our list with a few days to go.

It is a long stride but will be so worth it.  Just the sheer satisfaction of knowing that we pulled it off will be like sweet music.  It is not very often that I make such a pointedly commitment and not stick to it.  I am proud to say that I am now very knowledgeable in creating ISP Programs and Templates.

Previous to this journey, Bill Jones, our other Therap guru was the one who would do all of the ISP Programs; forms; tracking and such – so, I didn’t have to worry about it.  I have spent the majority of my time in the TMS system as well as the other basic modules.  But I am very glad to say, that I am moving across the board.   Now, I can take this fire (that got me into the mess) and instill it in others.  That is one of my ongoing missions.  I guess any teacher wants that; to put the fire they have in themselves into others; to create that passion.   I am glad to say that in the past few days I have converted 2 others and put that little spark in them.  Hopefully, it will turn into a fire (although, I don’t know if we have enough extinguishers for every one to be as fired up as I would like to see – but I am trying)!

So, since I can tell that I have just started rambling (a writing habit of mine); I will close and get back to my project – the TIME just keeps TICKING!  Thanks for letting me ramble.

By |2016-11-03T10:15:09+00:00April 27th, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |Comments Off on To Say “HI” and my frustration with Outrageous Deadlines

Liking 2014.7 Release

Our agency uses GERs almost like progress notes.  Anything and everything is documented on a GER.  One “hair-pulling” issue I had was how staff seemed to misidentify the GER Notification Level of High, Medium or Low.  In the beginning I just thought staff were not paying attention to the memos and charts on GER levels.  I then learned the level was defaulted to Low.  I emailed Therap months back requesting the default be set at “blank”…nothing, which would require staff to select the correct corresponding level for the type of GER being written.  Low and behold…The Therap “Gods”, I mean “Nerds” obliged my wish and now staff are “forced” to choose High, Medium or Low.  Now I just hope staff take the second to identify the correct level saving me the extra few seconds to correct GER after GER.

By |2016-11-03T10:15:09+00:00December 9th, 2014|Categories: Bill Jones's Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on Liking 2014.7 Release

Test Mode Wish List

As OCD as I am about listed Therap documents showing discontinued because I found an error on a template or a form doesn’t work as well as I had envisioned is one of the main reasons I develop all of our initial documents in test mode.  The only drawback is that after I create a form, I have to manually cut and paste every document field from test mode to real mode.  Maybe I don’t know the trick, but I would love to be able to save the document onto the test mode global library, which then can be transferred to real mode global library that I can “download”.  Is there a way to do this?

By |2014-12-09T16:50:07+00:00December 9th, 2014|Categories: Bill Jones's Posts|Tags: |7 Comments

Practice Blog…as if I need to practice

I think I am doing things backwards… Blogging that is.  Just thought I would write something to figure out the “ins and outs” of blogging as a certified trainer.  Why do I think I am doing things backwards?  I know you are all asking this question…Well, unlike other new Certified Trainers, I volunteered to present 1-3 topics at the upcoming National Conference, then I scheduled a Webinar…which is on December 19th, and now I am writing my first blog.  Oh well… that’s just me.

First, let me introduce myself…My name is William Jones, although I go by Bill and I am a “newish” Therap Certified Trainer.  I say newish because I was certified back in early April 2014, and this is my first blog.  So on December 19th I will be doing a Webinar on “Test Mode is Awesome: Using Test Mode to ‘Pre’ Develop Documents”.  Overall, I think I am prepared…Just need to talk to my computer (which I already do) and move my mouse around the screen…how hard is that…right?  It may be a little weird if my computer answers back…don’t know yet.

So I do have a couple of questions, like should I go out and spend $1000 (actually $15) on wireless headphones with a microphone or should I just use my phone as the audio source?  Having a wireless headset has an advantage…I can use the bathroom during my presentation if I feel nervous or something.  No seriously…should I invest in a corded or wireless set?

Next question, which I am guessing a little, but do I use the TRAIN-US log in to do my presentation?  This is probably a question for Allison, but since I needed something to blog about, the blogging world gets to answer.  And, if I use the TRAIN-US log in, should I prepare a Test Mode practice document to reference during my presentation? Maybe I should log in to the TRAIN-US site to answer my own questions and/or to practice.

So this is my first blog.  Somewhere on my desk I have a list of blogging ideas that I plan to share with my blogging colleagues…just not sure where I put that darn list.  So get back with me with any suggestions, tips, etc. on doing a webinar.  Anything would be great!

Now to Post…Do I click Publish?  Here goes…


By |2016-11-03T10:15:09+00:00December 2nd, 2014|Categories: Bill Jones's Posts|Tags: |1 Comment

TMS and Individual-Specific Training

Hello everyone!  I’ve been tinkering with TMS for a couple years now, but have never used it actively with an agency yet.  One of the things I’ve been trying to accomplish within TMS is tracking of Individual-Specific training (IST).  While I know this is incredibly important everywhere, in NM we also have some pretty strict guidelines on documenting IST.  At any given moment we need to be able to produce documentation showing who is trained to work with any particular individual, and which individuals any staff is fully trained to work with – so we need to be able to see both sides of this training “coin”.  And to make matters even more challenging, some parts of IST are required annually (i.e. ISP outcomes), some are only required if/when they are updated (i.e. healthcare plans), and others are a one-time thing (i.e. individual routines and preferences).  IST isn’t really a “class” so it is a bit more complicated to build this into TMS.

IST tracking is also really difficult to do on paper.  Most agencies keep multiple copies of rosters/training sheets/shadowing forms/etc…, in multiples places, to consult to be able to answer those questions and provide required documentation.  Some agencies have “graduated” to tracking this in complex excel spreadsheets….but again, it is difficult to track all of this information.  There are usually gaps to accurate info.

At the recent NM conference we had a lively discussion in a TMS session on this very issue.  The folks over at Tabosa and ENMRSH in the SE part of our state are both working to devise a way to get TMS to capture all of this training and produce the information in an accessible manner.  Here are the two working ideas that these agencies are trying out.

Option one: Basic

In this option – there is a class titled with an Individual-specific title (i.e. you don’t want to use names because TMS is not caseload based, so we discussed using the Therap ID number for the individual – an example of the class title is “IST: CON-BR-1234”).  Then external to Therap/TMS the managers track completion of all of the IST requirements for the staff they supervise (as they always have).  Once a staff has completed all of the IST requirements for a particular individual, it is entered as complete in TMS.  The classes can be assigned, but are not “scheduled” as there are multiple components to each class that are externally tracked.

This makes it easy to run a report to see who has completed the class (i.e. who is fully trained to work with that individual), and which classes a particular staff has completed (i.e. who the staff person is trained to work with).

Option two: Advanced

In this option – there are multiple classes for each part of a person’s IST (i.e. CON-BR-1234: ISP, CON-BR-1234: healthcare plans, CON-BR-1234: routines and preferences, CON-BR-1234: OT/PT plans, etc…).  Then in the larger architecture, there is a course for each Individual.  While this course designation doesn’t really do anything yet – if we were able to run reports for courses (and not just for classes), this would be a really helpful breakout!!

While setting this way up is very labor intensive and makes your course list very long – it eliminates any external tracking and allows us to see which pieces of IST may not yet be completed, be able to track the various components with their different time frames (i.e. annual, as needed, 1x, etc..).  And it still allows reports to show who is fully trained to work with a specific individual, and which individuals a staff person is trained to work with.

This option is what Tabosa is trying out.  Jessica Dunn at Tabosa invested an incredible amount of time to build all of the classes and enter back training data.  She built courses based on the individual’s ID, and included the following classes (BSC, CARMP, HCP/MERP, ISP, PT/OT, and SLP).  The certification report then shows everyone trained on each of these classes, providing them with a very detailed way to track IST completion.  Great job Jessica!!!


So as you can see there are pros/cons to either way.  I’m also interested if anyone else has built IST tracking in a different manner than the two described above.  My ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for external tracking, and to be able to pull meaningful/helpful information out of TMS.  On that note here are my TMS requests to Therap (pretty please with a cherry on top!!!):

1.  Make the TMS reports have the ability to export to excel.  This exists almost everywhere else, why is it just PDFs in TMS?

2.  Provide the ability to run certification reports based on course and/or class, not just class.


By |2016-11-03T10:15:12+00:00June 23rd, 2014|Categories: Brianne Conner's Posts|Tags: , |Comments Off on TMS and Individual-Specific Training

Things are heating up!

…at least as far as the weather goes. It was around 97 here in Omaha yesterday, and the College World Series is in full swing.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to help Therap with the NM conference in Albuquerque. I met many great folks down there, and even learned a few new things. The Therapites even invited me to go with them to Tim’s Place. What an inspiring young man!

Tim's Place

NM Regional Conference

Whew – NM Regional Conference…finished!

I love conferences. They are such a fun time to see old friends, make new ones, help people learn new things, and learn some new things myself. This years NM regional conference was no exception.

Thank you to Matthew Rice and Loralei Glenn – two fantastic certified trainers – that took time to come to NM and teach us all new things. I heard many positive comments about your sessions.

Thank you also to the amazing Therap crew that took on NM: Deb, Allison, Stacey, Brie, and Calvin. You all are amazing and I always learn something new from you.

I am happy to report that I now feel like I have a better understanding of TMS and how to make it work for NM Individual Specific Training requirements…at least I’m going to try. I will report back.

I had a great time teaching sessions as usual (even with the black hole of internet in one of the training rooms). I will leave you with a terrible Therap joke that was used in a session:

How many attempts does it take for a DSP to successfully log into Therap?….Less than it takes the managers!

By |2014-05-29T23:22:38+00:00May 29th, 2014|Categories: Brianne Conner's Posts|Tags: , , |Comments Off on NM Regional Conference

Documenting and Measuring Relationships

I’ve been meaning to create this blog post for months now! In July Bonnie presented a great webinar on Person-Centered Thinking Tools – during that webinar we had a discussion about the challenges of documenting relationships. To follow up from this conversation – Donnia Melton from Mosaic and I had a phone conference and a wonderful conversation about different ways we have both tried to accomplish this.

The gist is that as we work toward supporting Individuals to build new skills – much of the time those skills are related to relationship development. Whether it is making friends, socializing, integration in the community, learning how to moderate emotions, relationships with roommates and coworkers, and pursuing meaningful relationships (romantic and otherwise). It has a much greater impact on a person’ quality of life to improve and grow the meaningful relationships around them. Now the rub…how do we document this? How to we track this? What does success look like?

Quantifying and measuring relationship success and growth is challenging at best – and more often impossible. So instead we try to look at activities and skills that are related to this endeavor.

For example: “Brianne will join a church” , “Donnie will create birthday cards and deliver them to her friends at the coffee shop”, “Allison will plan and host a dinner party” – etc… While these are great efforts in the right direction – they are frequently far from the mark. Brianne could join a church and never really make a friend there. Donnie could deliver cards but not have the opportunity to spend meaningful time with her friends. And Allison could host her dinner party yet never get another opportunity to socialize with the people she invited that time. Our documentation efforts frequently drive the actions of our frontline and they are trying to “do their job” and “get it right.”

While I don’t have an answer to this problem, I love to keep thinking on it and working on it. Any move in the right direction can only reap rewards in people’s lives. So I challenge each you to look at and think about how we document relationships – what will be the best way(s) to reach meaningful outcomes for people in the area of relationships.

Check out Donnia’s upcoming webinar for more on this topic (and others).
Person-Focused Planning and How Therap Can Help 12-11-2013 —
Donnia Melton-Togbanyahn, a Therap Regional Coordinator from MOSAIC, will discuss the tools in Therap that assist with ISP planning and ensuring it remains individually-focused.

By |2016-11-03T10:15:19+00:00October 31st, 2013|Categories: Brianne Conner's Posts|Tags: |Comments Off on Documenting and Measuring Relationships
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