I have been in school and working in the health care field for seven years. I started university right out of high school in 2013 to obtain my Bachelor of Science in Nursing and my first job as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) was during my second year in the nursing program. When it comes to working as a PSW and soon to be Registered Nurse, I continue to reflect on the importance of Registered Nursing students working as Personal Support Workers.
I strongly believe that working in a PSW role while working towards becoming an RN in school can help you build your confidence as a nursing student. Working as a PSW is very rewarding work, but like any job, it can come with challenges, especially with the staffing shortages in Long Term Care. While working as a PSW and as a nursing student, I have witnessed and experienced how the PSW position is one of the most important positions to hold. I quickly came to realize that the emotional, mental and physical demands can be astronomical at times and unless you have experience from working as a PSW you wouldn’t understand how demanding the job can actually be from time to time. Working in the role of a PSW allowed me to gain a deep sense of appreciation for the work that PSWs do. While challenging at times, knowing you are directly helping improve the quality of life for those in your care is worth it in itself.
During my placements as a student, I have, at times, witnessed Personal Support Workers being overlooked by others, mostly due to these individuals not understanding how hard-working a PSW can actually be. Now that I have worked as a PSW, when I become a Registered Nurse, I will have the empathy and experience to help my fellow PSWs out whenever I can lend the time. This only helps strengthen the team you work with because you are all working towards the same goal.
Lastly, during my time working as a PSW while in school, I also learned the importance of time management. Both PSW and RN jobs are very fast-paced and getting the experience of properly managing and organizing time will be extremely beneficial to nursing students upon graduation. Personally, I feel that this skill has helped me become more efficient and effective in my role. Working as a PSW has definitely changed my life for the better and has given me the experience I needed to become a confident, stronger and supportive future nurse.
~ Shianne Roberts, PSW, Plan A Sudbury