Wednesday, September 26, 2007

For Caregivers, It's All About the People

I shared with you earlier my memories of my first job as a nursing home caregiver. I was just 17, living away from home at a distant college, needing a job I could fit around my class schedule. Working swing shift seemed perfect – except for one small problem: my supervisor never once, during the entire semester I worked there, gave me a Friday night off – my one and only request when I started work.

I was trained by following an experienced caregiver for one shift. After that, I was responsible for feeding, bathing and assisting to bed 10-12 residents each evening.

Here’s the part that actually surprises me when I think about those days: I still remember the people. I remember the two young women with severe cerebral palsy, for whom we provided total care, including peri-care during their menstrual cycles. I remember the gentleman who became one of my favorites. I remember the people who really needed a two person assist, but whom I usually had to assist by myself.

This was over 30 years ago, and I still remember the people.

This reflects a lot of what we now know about caregivers in general: they’re in it for the people in their care. They’re not in it for the money, the respect or the leadership shown to them. It’s the people.

Imagine if we could enhance the money, increase the respect, offer multiple training opportunities and provide strong leadership?

What kind of a powerful workforce could we build?

Given the tools to excel, caregivers will be able to focus even more on the part of the job that defines them: genuinely caring for people.

No comments:

Post a Comment