Mercy Administration Recognizes SAW Graduate

April 4, 2012

Chip Pridley (center) holds the certificate

of completion presented to him at Mercy’s

School at Work Graduation Ceremony on

March 20. Also pictured are Dale Cation (left),

Mercy director of maintenance and engineering

and Reta Baker (right), Mercy

Hospital president.

Mercy Hospital Administration congratulates Vonley “Chip” Pridley as Fort Scott’s second graduate of the School at Work (SAW) program which was instituted on July 2010.  The nine-month program partners a Mercy co-worker with a mentor to help the SAW participant explore career opportunities within Mercy and facilitate growth both professionally and personally.

The program provides participants with the skills to move ahead, either by going back to school or seeking a promotion within the hospital.  SAW participants choose to move ahead in one of four career ladders: nursing, allied clinical, clerical and support services.  SAW is an opportunity for Mercy to “grow” its workforce and to increase diversity in nursing, allied clinical and front-line leadership positions. 

“It (the coursework), really focuses on trying to advance the students in the health care field,” said Pridley.  “I gained skills on how to communicate better in the work force, improved my writing skills and learned medical terminology too.”

Currently an environmental service tech at Mercy Hospital, Pridley is now planning to earn a CNA license and work in the home health field.  Eventually Pridley is eyeing a career as a physical therapy assistant.

“Anybody wanting to improve their work-related skills should consider taking the course,” Pridley shared.  “I really enjoy working with Mercy and I’d like to continue working here as I pursue a clinical career path.”

“This is often the first step for some of our co-workers in creating a career plan,” said Linda Noll, Mercy Executive Director of Human Resources. “In most cases, the SAW program allows our co-workers to gain confidence in their work environment, in study skills useful for future training, and exposure to other departments through job shadowing.”  

Managers at other Mercy locations that offer SAW have reported improvements in confidence, attitude, job performance and fewer attendance issues.  There is no cost to the employee or the department.

Although the program does not guarantee a promotion, on average 17% of SAW students are promoted to a higher level position within 90 days of completing the program. 

School at Work is a workforce development system provided to increase job advancement, retention and career development for entry level workers. By providing SAW to interested and qualified entry level workers, SAW places emphasis on retention and advancement of entry level personnel into clinical, clerical, and support roles.

“We appreciate John Bennett, SAW facilitator, for volunteering his time to this valuable program.

The SAW “Building a Career Ladder in Healthcare” program uses the internet, computer labs, DVDs and staff coaching to deliver instruction. Co-workers review basic reading, writing and math skills; improve computer proficiency; study medical terminology, medical ethics, anatomy and physiology. Students also develop an individual career and learning plan to follow in reaching their goals.

Mercy is the eighth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,500 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit

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