Carterville native Dave Tolcou is a natural communicator. Focused on liaising between Southern Illinois Healthcare’s medical team and its patients, his greatest vocational joy comes when he plays a part in explaining and executing SIH’s comprehensive rehabilitation service offerings.
“It really does not get much better than seeing a patient functioning at a high level after a traumatic illness or injury,” Tolcou said.
He recently sat down with The Southern to talk about his role and responsibilities with SIH, as well as his advice for finding a fulfilling, meaningful job in Southern Illinois.
Question: Can you explain your role and work history with SIH? What brought you there and what are your daily responsibilities?
Answer: This is my first position with SIH. In my role, I am charged with informing two audiences about our rehabilitation service line. Those two audiences are referring care providers and the public. SIH is a very attractive employer to those who are looking because in uncertain times, SIH is flourishing and growing.
My days can consist of any number of activities. I could be in the office making phone calls to patients who have been discharged from our Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility, I could be visiting physicians throughout Southern Illinois or I could be speaking with a patient who was referred to us in St. Louis or Evansville.
Q: What do you enjoy the most about your role as Growth & Development Specialist?
A: I view myself as a bridge between our therapy staff, our physicians and the patient and their family. Our patients are in one of the most vulnerable points in their lives and they trust our team to care for them. So many times, we see amazing outcomes and we see the emotions those outcomes can bring to a family.
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Q: What in your past most prepared you for success in this role? Education? Related work experience? Advice from a mentor?
A: Generally speaking, I am always on someone else’s turf, so I try to always be respectful of that fact. My main goal is to have everyone be comfortable with me. My superior Dena Kirk always says, “It’s all about relationships!” In my position that could not be more true. That is something I try to keep with me every day.
Q: At a time when so many people are supposedly “fed up with Illinois” and leaving the state, what makes SIH such a great employer and what makes the area a good landing spot for talented professionals?
A: SIH is a mission-driven company and they do so much to ensure their employees understand that mission. The important thing about that mission is that it is all about helping the members of our community. People in this community will recognize what you do for them here and they will show you true appreciation for how you have helped them or their family.
Southern Illinois is an area that has so much to offer both families and young professionals; the schools are fantastic, it is beautiful, and it is a short drive to many big cities.
Q: There are a lot of people in our audience who feel stuck at work. For whatever reason, they are unhappy and unsure of how to get out. What advice do you have for them?
A: The first thing you have to know is you are not alone, and you do not have a character flaw. Most people have had a job that did not suit them well. However, my advice would be to make sure you have the fit when you leave. Do not get caught up in the present and neglect the future or you could end up in the same spot.