“For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though many, form one body, so it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12 (AMP)
We all have different tasks to perform in life depending on the path or career we choose; some of us are in the forefront while others are in the trenches or behind the scenes. Regardless of the position we hold, we are all part of a body. Each person has an important role to play in ensuring excellent service, genuine care and unconditional love. These are the key components meted out to the patients and parents on the JBF Ward.
to Cherry-Ann Boodoo Ramsundar who works as a Patient Care Assistant (PCA) on the JBF Specialty Unit, Mount Hope. Here are some insights into her life and job.
“As a child, I did not know what I wanted to be but when asked I would jokingly say, “A housewife” and everyone would laugh. As time progressed, I started to work at T&T Carpets in Building 39 at Mount Hope Hospital. The girls there would always say to me, “this is not for you Cherry, this is not for you, you are too much of a nice person to be doing this!” They always suggested that I do the geriatric course that will help me get into a profession that matches my personality. So said, so done. I completed the geriatric course in 1998 at the YMCA. By the grace of God, on October 23rd this year, I will celebrate 19 years of caring for and assisting patients at Mount Hope. In truth, I sometimes ask myself if I made the right decision about this career because I work on weekends and it sometimes feel like I have no time for my family. The reality is, I have achieved this and I feel proud of myself. Getting this far means a lot to me because my other siblings have good jobs and I was always the one behind, the one who did odd jobs wherever. I even did hairdressing and sewing and I was unsettled.
Being a PCA, I feel settled. After more than a decade at the JBF Ward, I have gained self confidence because caring and being there for other people show me how important the little things can be in such a sensitive situation. There are highs and lows of being a PCA on the JBF Ward; sometimes I get attached to the children and then they do not survive. When these things happen, not even words can express how one feels. You just learn to flow with reality after time has passed. At a day’s end though, I feel accomplished because I did what was required of me – I care for each of them (the children) as if they were my own.
I remember years ago, we had a little girl on the ward and every time she saw me she would say, “Nursey, come let’s go,” and when I asked where, she would say, “for bread and butter.” Bread and butter in her room turned out to be our daily tradition. Unfortunately, she died but the memories remain. When trying times like these occur, I always remember that I need to be there for the parents although I feel as if I could break down as well. We are family so we all feel the pain that parents feel. The JBF Ward is my second home, the PCAs go above and beyond the call of duty. We all do our best; whatever little we can, we do it. We just cannot stop God, and unfortunately when all else fails, I learn to put my trust in him. It’s just the best feeling to greet former patients who stop by to visit the ward. They feel so happy to still see me here after years have passed. They always express their gratitude.
Working as a PCA, I have many tasks. I start my shift knowing what I have to do – stock medication from pharmacies, run necessary errands, assist in tidying our patients who are social cases and children who have no parent to look after them. PCAs assist with feeding patients who are unable to help themselves, and we also ensure that their clothes are washed. The job is like being a professional mother and taking care of a very large household.
Some days are very emotional because there are patients who are unable to communicate with us for one reason or another, all they are able to do is cry or fret. Sometimes we simply do not know what the problem is, and at other times, we have a good idea because of our familiarity with each child. It’s frustrating and sad because we really wonder what is on their minds or what they are feeling. Only they know. However, we learn to adjust to the reality of these situations.
There are many lessons that I have learnt. The most significant will always be the realisation that I need to be pleasant to everyone I come in contact with. We are all equal and nobody is better or worse. I have learnt the importance of humility, understanding and patience. A PCA’s job is very comprehensive and we play a very important supporting role at the hospital. Although we may not be doing Nursing, we are like moms in the health sector.”
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10 (NIV)
Submitted by: Chevaughn Joseph
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