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i have learned more about myself in the past year than in my life up to now. its funny how being surrounded by people who have much different needs from your own can give you a different perspective on your life. i think i value my time and my health a lot more being in this job. it puts things into perspective. i value my family and the relationships i have with close friends much more now too. a lot of the people i work with have good support from their families, it makes such a difference in their lives.  a persons quality of life is greatly improved by the love of a family member or close friend.

each time i work i try to reflect on my day, i try to put myself into the shoes of one of my patients and truly understand what it must be like for them. i think we should all do this every now and then, try to see things from a different perspective, step back and think beyond our first impression of a situation or person and try to understand why.

i believe in; each day should be lived as if it were my last, living to the fullest, never going to bed angry, keeping in touch with loved ones and being at peace with myself.

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funny how when you take the time to really observe someone, listen to them even if the words they are using are out of context you can interpret what they actually mean to say. associate words, most of the time with dementia the words that “surface” are in the same pool as the word they intend to be using, put it into the context of the situation and its like interpreting a code. if you really listen, you will hear what they are saying.

the most valuable skill you can learn in this field is PATIENCE. you have to take your time, let the patient take their time, its amazing what they can do on their own if only given a moment to figure it out and do it. let them have what little independence they have left.

a new admittance to our floor, upon arrival is labelled as aggressive, combative, verbally abusive. really this person didn’t know where they were, what the date was, who we were and wanted to use the bathroom, the nursing staff have me answer the bell at night because i seem to “have a way” really i use simple verbal cues, one direction at a time, always enter the room with a smile and let the patient do as much for them-self as i can. seems to work well, and the patient has not displayed aggressive behavior while in my care.

I recently graduated as a personal support worker from Durham College. I have been working in my new field for about a month I feel compelled to share my experiences. I promise to maintain patient confidentiality and will never refer to my patients using their real names or initials. I feel that my perspective on my role and the people I work with may be different from most.

My role at the hospital is different from what most people would consider the “traditional” role of a PSW. Most PSW’s work to help clients with their activities of daily living, such as brushing their teeth and getting ready in the morning. Some of us work in more specific situations such as myself. I have 21 patients on my ward and work with 2 to 5 RPN’s and RN’s on a shift. Each of our patients has a unique mix of cognitive and psychosocial impairments, all reside in a locked unit. My job is to Redirect, De-escalate and Divert behaviors in our patients such as aggression, exit seeking and confusion. As well as monitoring and correcting behaviors I provide social interaction, emotional and spiritual care and assist the nursing staff.

I love my job, each day presents a new challenge and a new puzzle to be figured out. I feel like I have made a difference in a persons life every day. I feel so privileged to have this opportunity.

Now as for the blog… some entries may be written in a stream of consciousness format as this is what comes most naturally to me. I promised myself I wouldn’t feel bad for not writing every day so there may be gaps in my updates. I hope you enjoy! And encourage your feedback and comments.