Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Crisis Nursery

Throughout my career I have always tended to gravitate towards stressful areas of nursing. After my retirement I began looking for a volunteer position that would be the least stressful yet would give satisfaction and a sense of helping others.
My first foray into the land of volunteer opportunies led me to The American Red Cross. I attended the right amount of training sessions and was accepted and given my badge of honor, a life saving jacket and a general idea of situations I would be called upon to assist. I brought my jacket home and then began to have second thoughts. Did I really want to assist with flood victims, rescues, fires and other heart breaking situations? After spending my career dealing with the unhappiness and trauma of others I didn't think I could be as effective as I once was. Also physically I wasn't as capable. So regretfully I let my jacket hang in the closet to collect dust, thinking maybe someday.
I then attended a volunteer recruitment seminar and came upon a volunteer opportunity that I thought I may enjoy. I joined this organization several months ago and find great satisfaction in giving love and recieving much more in return.
The Crisis Nursery provides developmentally appropriate nuturing care in a clean safe positive enviroment for children whose families are in a crisis situation either due to homelessness family difficulties or the possibility of abuse due to lives spinning out of control. The ages accepted are newborns through six years of age.
Being a volunteer I never am told what brought these children to the center. My role is to feed bathe clothe rock and give love lots of love. My reward is seeing smiles and knowing that as long as they are in the nursery they have full tummies clean clothes and loving people taking care of them
The nursery is not government funded and survives through community donations paid staff and volunteers. Medical assesments are given to all children and all medical needs are met.
When I initially started I was given the option of working with infants or toddlers so I chose to work with infants first. My first baby was just three weeks old and I just basically fed and rocked her. I then worked with toddlers and the first day I had to come home and take a long nap! They were all so busy I could barely keep up. After three or four times down on a big play mat I decided I needed a break as I could hardly bring myself off the floor. Now I am back to infants.(My daughter told me I really never got on the floor playing with my grandchildren but it seems to me I must have once in awhile. I see some of the older children and they occassionally ask me if I remember them because some have been there on more than one occassion. I always tell them"of course I remember you" and they are always happy about that.
Kids are always so truthful and spontanious (sp?). Since I am getting older and hmm not as muscular as I once was I have lost some muscle tone in my arms and one little girl started feeling my upper arms. She looked at me and asked me to feel her arms. She then felt mine and said "Your arms are squishy and mine aren't. I like your arms better)
Doing this job has been so rewarding and I am thankful that I am able to give back but I also know that I recieve even more.