Thursday, May 7, 2009

Grandma Prison

Yes, I said it. But it's not original. I got it from an episode of The Brak Show:

I don't remember which episode it is, but Zorak is threatened with having to go back to "Grandma Prison" if he doesn't do... something that I can't remember.

In any event, my son now teases me that I work in Grandma Prison.

And I wouldn't have thought any more about it except that yesterday, my charge nurse was telling everyone that a couple of residents were "trying to escape".

So what's the point of this post. It's about how we think about where we work and what we do. Do you think you work at "Grandma Prison"? Are you "just an ***wiper"? Or "just a pill pusher"?

Our job is hard. We do things that few people want to do or have time to do. We talk to people that few others can understand. (Word salad anyone?) Many times, we become family to these residents, even if their families come to visit them regularly. Their families can't be there to hold their heads while they're vomiting, but we can and do.

We don't work at "Grandma Prison". Yes, we are ***wipers and pill pushers, but we are more than the sum of our parts. We become a part of our residents lives that is at least as important as their families. Everytime we smile and listen to a resident, even if we can only guess at what they're saying, we make their lives better. We need to revise our way of thinking and be proud of what we do. Our residents know our value. We need to acknowledge it, too.

1 comment:

Dr. Eleanor Barbera said...

Several residents I know have referred to themselves and the other residents as "inmates." I think the humor helps them get through it. Nursing homes can be very prison-like, in that many people are there against their will and some don't have the right to leave. It's up to us to make it feel like a community, if not like home. So I agree, we do much more than simple personal care or pill dispensing.

Eleanor Feldman Barbera