(Oct. 2, 2020) – KHA's Health Care Worker of the Year Award highlights hospital employees who have made a significant contribution to the betterment of their hospital. These individuals have been nominated for this award because they routinely go above and beyond the call of duty.
Candy Seltman has served as the director of the Early Learning program at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission for 40 years. When Candy was tasked with creating a daycare, she went above and beyond to develop a quality, faith-based, early education center nurturing the minds of every child who entered its doors. The Early Learning program was created in response to a Kansas City area nursing shortage in the late 1970s. Over the years, Candy and her team have educated and cared for thousands of children of AdventHealth employees. Her visionary leadership has led to a summer program for school-aged children, support for breastfeeding mothers, as well as a diverse and inclusive environment for children of varying backgrounds and special needs. She has kept AdventHealth's mission of "Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ" at the forefront of her leadership, by ensuring that children who attend Early Learning have the opportunity to discover Christ through Bible stories, songs and meaningful activities.
Candy's passion for education extends beyond children. She is a compassionate leader and mentor, while fostering an environment of collaboration and teamwork. She has an "open door policy," encouraging team members to come to her if they have a problem. She encourages team members to learn more about child development and to grow while demonstrating best practices. In addition, she works with her staff's schedule for those who are pursuing their degree or have children of their own that need care. She also initiated a benefits program that includes free child care.
In 2019, the Early Learning program moved into the B.E. Smith Family Center, sharing space with the Britain Development program. The Britain Development program provides therapy and education for children with special needs. Candy played an integral role in transitioning the Early Learning Program to the new building. Her experience, vision, planning and design of the new space, along with her expertise in bringing the project to fruition was invaluable. The B.E. Smith Family Center is the only building of its kind in the state and one of just a few in the nation, housing programs for childcare, as well as therapy and education for children with special needs. The inclusive environment is shaping the next generation's attitude and acceptance toward people with disabilities.
The Early Learning program not only aids in the recruitment of both physicians and nurses, it also has helped AdventHealth enjoy low turnover and high employee satisfaction and engagement rates. High satisfaction rates result in higher patient satisfaction scores. Through Candy's leadership, a family culture has emerged at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, as employees and their children get to know each other at childcare.
Candy will be recognized with other Health Care Worker of the Year nominees during the KHA Virtual Convention, Oct. 21-23. The winners also will be recognized at their hospitals.