Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of June 16, 2003
General Hospital patients say 'thanks'
They want the staff to know they are appreciated
By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Helping patients with their daily-living requirements, ensuring patients receive prescribed medications, are washed, dressed, are eating and following their treatments.
These are some of the duties of a hospital-based licensed practical nurse (LPN). Most places where LPNs work require 24-hour staffing, meaning they will work day shifts, evening shifts and night shifts or a combination.
Weekends and statutory holidays also see nurses at work. Some LPNs work eight-hour shifts while others work 10 or 12-hour shifts.
In spite of the demanding nature of her job, Edmonton General Continuing Care Facility LPN Gloria Menjivar enjoys it.
"To me it's a vocation. I couldn't see myself doing anything else really. I always wanted to be a nurse and to work with people - to look after people," she told the WCR, when the Edmonton General residents celebrated staff appreciation day, June 4.
As an initiative, the residents and their families raised some funds to buy boxes of cookies to be given to all the staff.
For Menjivar, this residents' initiative means a great deal.
"It means the time I have been here is appreciated by the residents. I'm not here just to do a job. It means that they take me basically as part of their families."
Residents' council co-chair Anne Burrows said, "I think it's absolutely vital because in many cases the staff may wonder if they really are appreciated."
Burrows, who has been blind since she was five, believes "often people who are suffering from various stages of aging don't always produce the best manners. Yet they really appreciate very much, though it is not always obvious, what the staff do."
She appreciates everything the staff does for her. For instance, they come and wake her up at the time in the morning that she asked them to.
"They're very kind in making special arrangements. I have a wonderful physiotherapist. They also help very much in the dining room. Their whole day is given up to our well being and attending to our needs."
In October Burrows, former Edmonton Journal music columnist (1963-72) and CBC radio host (Music West), will have been a resident for three years. In a sense it's been a home for her.
"But I'm not looking for a home. I'm looking for a place where I can flourish and I can certainly do that here."
Burrows, a member of the Order of Canada, says, "I think once the residents grasp that they have a responsibility for making this a success, they could do more possibly. I take great happiness that it's happening."
Ever since she became part of the residents' council she has been talking about this aspect of life. She hopes each year it can be improved and that more can be done.
"I think it would be helpful to new staff. I think it's a kind of thing that should be done in all extended care facilities."
Nursing attendant Betty Petrich has been working for the facility for four years.
"I think it's quite an honour. It's just really overwhelming what they're doing for us. This is the first time that anything like this was ever done," she said.
Julian Werawa's mother has been a resident for four years.
"It's really neat to see how the staff cater to everybody. Some of people in here have no relatives or friends and the staff are the closest people with them."
"Today we try to show the staff basically that we can say 'thank you,' because otherwise many times they're busy and we appreciate what they're doing but we have not exactly told them so."
Joe MacGillivray, vice-president for continuing care and support services, said, "The importance of this is that the residents and their families are doing something to appreciate the staff. The community working on its own. It's the brainchild of the residents."