Hi. My name is Vonnique, I'm from Pinole, CA and I've been a caregiver for around 3 years.
How did you get into caregiving?
I became a caregiver because when my grandmother got ill she needed help around the house, she needed help with cooking, she needed help getting up and down the stairs. And then, eventually, she needed total care and help with toileting, getting dressed, bathing, and so that's how I got into it. And little did I know that I would actually enjoy taking care of those people who are in need, whether they are elderly, whether they're disabled, whether they're children with developmental disabilities. I found that that was something that I was passionate about.
What advice would you provide to a new caregiver?
My advice to a new caregiver is don't get overwhelmed, and never forget your patient or your resident. Never forget that you're there for them. And then the most important piece of advice that I would have is to sustain what you learned in school. And sustain that type of care, that level of care, on the job. I remember when I first got into caregiving I had some of my colleagues tell me, "Oh, you're doing everything to the book, you're doing too much, you only have to change a resident once." They're trying to give me a hard time and I just had to know in my head that I'm doing this because ultimately I want to give the resident the best-- or my client, the best level of care. And I don't want to be lazy and I don't want to think about me. I want to think about this patient, first and foremost. So I was known as the square because I would do everything by the book. So that is my advice. Don't let anyone talk you out of providing the best care possible to your client, to your resident, or to your patient.
Who is one of your most memorable clients?
The client that I will never forget is Mary. Mary was a paraplegic and she could not walk, she could not move. She was actually a quadriplegic and I remember when I first had to take care of Mary, she was very unhappy. She didn't talk, she was very short, and when I began to take care of her she would look at me differently, like, "Wow. You're good. You really take care of me." And I've noticed a complete 360 in her personality. She was known as the hag and very mean. And I know why, because she felt like her needs weren't being met. And when I got in there, she knew I was new and she even said, "Don't change. Don't ever change." And I kept that in mind. I never did change because I feel a certain accountability and then I have a certain moral and care about what I do. And pride in what I do. And so Mary and I would have conversations, she would ask for me specifically and I really got to know Mary for who she really was. And she was a great person. And so I'll never, ever forget that.