Hello again! This is Joan, and today I am going to talk a little bit about work flow at Highland, as well as our experience with Geriatric Teach Day this week!
As far as work flow goes, for the HELP internship we work in pairs or groups of three to visit patients. In my experience, I have found that having at least one other intern with me to do the visits is very helpful. Sometimes we experience that moment of awkward silence when you just aren't sure what to say to a patient who might not be very talkative. It's always nice to have another volunteer along to help break the silence or think of a new direction for conversation. Going in groups of two or three also helps when we are writing up our notes about patients because we have more than one memory or perspective to rely on. When things are stressful, such as dealing with a difficlt patient or staff member, it is also nice to have someone right there with you to relate to. Alex and I are always able to comfort each other and sometimes just vent so that we won't dwell on any obstacles and we can keep putting our best faces forward for the patients. At first, it could be a little difficult at times for me to work with a partner because I am usually very independent (and a little bossy...), but over time this experience has helped me be more open to new ways of doing things, working together, and communicating effectively. As we have mentioned before, we also receive amazing guidance from our supervior, Peggy, and the Recreation Therapist, Nicole. They both keep us motivated, challenge us, and unite us for the common cause of improving the lives of patients. By working with each other, our wonderful supervisor, and the fantastic recreation therapist, Alex and I are able to see all of our patients and make meaningful connections with people who may or may not be on our program.
Before I close for the week, I want to mention the amazing opportunity that we had earlier this week. Alex, myself, and some of the other interns were able to volunteer at Highland's Geriatric Teach Day, so we got to tell people about HELP and attend the whole conference for free! We made great connections with other professionals interested in the geriatric population. We talked to nurses, doctors, and social workers, and we observed and participated in lectures, activities, and a discussion panel. Topics of the conference included compassionate care for elders, safe care transitions, innovation of long-term care, pain management needs of older adults, and the challenges of aging and intellectual disabilities. We were so thankful to be able to share our experiences from the HELP internship, and everyone we talked to about the program sounded very interested in our work. We also gained a lot of valuable insight for working with the older adult population. Alex and I both highly recommend this conference to anyone who is interested in geriatrics, and we really hope to be able to attend again next year! We continue to be amazed and grateful for the opportunities this internship has given us, and we know our experiences with HELP will always have a place in our hearts and in our lives as professionals.