Before she began working with Spectrum Health Systems, Ondrea Hilts was in college, pursuing a degree in psychology with a minor in justice studies. She knew she wanted to help people but hadn’t decided on a specific career path.
Soon, though, a family tragedy would shape her plans for the future when she lost her father-in-law to an overdose. It was a painful loss, yet Ondrea knew there were many other people like her father-in-law who were struggling with addiction but didn’t know how to get help. “It really motivated me to want to work with people and help them find recovery,” she said.
Starting a Career in Addiction Treatment
In 2019, she joined Spectrum as a Clinical Office Coordinator. In her role, she saw how families were affected by addiction, and, partially due to her own experience, found that she empathized with children whose parents struggled with substance use disorders. When she graduated college the following year, she decided to leave Spectrum and take an opportunity to work with children in the foster care system.
Ondrea worked with children until December of 2021, when she felt called back to the addiction treatment field. She contacted Spectrum, and soon returned as a Regional Operations Manager. Coming back to Spectrum felt like a natural step for her not only because she enjoyed helping people, but also because she appreciated the culture and her fellow co-workers. “They genuinely care about you. Not just as an employee, but as a person,” she said.
Helping people find the tools they need to make real progress in their lives brings gratification to Ondrea. In her role, she often works directly with patients to help nurture their recovery. “If a patient needs transportation, or if there is something we can do to remove financial barriers to treatment, I’m here to work with them,” she said. “When we can meet people where they are and help them navigate whatever difficulties they’re facing, it allows them to focus more on their recovery.”
An Occupation that Makes an Impact
Ondrea knows that recovery happens one day at a time. But when those days add up, incredible transformations occur. “There were patients I knew in 2019,” she said. “They were really struggling with their recovery, feeling overwhelmed. I get to see them now and they’re stable. They’re taking their medication without missing any doses. They’re back in contact with their children and their families. It means a lot to me knowing we were able to help them on that journey.”
As she looks to the future, Ondrea is hopeful and determined. She’s glad to know that every day, she and her team help people make strides in their recovery. “Every day we come here and put our best selves forward, making sure we’re doing everything we can for our patients.” Little by little, those days add up to something truly meaningful.
For information about working at Spectrum Health Systems and available job opportunities, visit the careers page on our website.