Friday, April 2, 2010

Making a Difference

I don't know if you know it or not, but I'm an intern at a psychiatric hospital. I am getting my masters in counseling. I work on the adolescent unit as a counselor. I have been there since June, and I LOVE IT!!!! I am praying for a job there. I never thought I wanted to work with this age group, but I think I found my sweet spot in the counseling world.

The criteria for admission for adolescents (ages 13-17) is suicidal or homicidal ideation. The average length of stay is 7-10 days. We are acute care. Our job is stabilization. We are like a psychiatric ER. The down side of this is we don't get to spend much time with the kids, we don't see major results, and unfortunately we have a lot of repeaters (kids that have been there numerous times). 99% of our days are chaotic. It is always busy. We deal with kids that don't care and parents that care less (not all but a large majority). It can be a scary job sometimes. I have scene staff members get hurt and hospital property damaged. It can be crazy. Some days it feels like I care more than the patient does. They are kids. No one else cares about them so why should they believe that you care?

This quarter I am there 4 days a week. I get to spend more time with my kids and I love it even more. Over the past couple of weeks I have been working really close with one particular patient. She has been in longer than most kids stay because she needs a safe place to go home to. I have really made a connection with her. Yesterday when I was leaving I pulled her aside to let her know if she happened to leave before Monday I wouldn't see her again. I wished her the best. She got tears in her eyes and said, "I don't want to not see you. I like you a lot. You have helped me so much." I gave her a hug. The selfish part of me wants her to be there Monday, but I also want her to go back to life with the new tools she has.

Moments like this are few and far between. Counseling is a tricky profession. I have job security because it is a sad world we live in, but I would be happy if every one of my patients never needed me again. I hope I never see this little girl in the hospital again. I hope she has a beautiful life. (one that I will never be aware of) It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. I will never see the fruits of my labor, but making a difference in her life for that one day makes it all worth it. I will take all the crazy and scary days for 1 moment like this once in a blue moon.

Me making a difference to her made a difference to me.


Sonya said...

They are so lucky to have you! That would be a tough job. I'm thankful you have the gift to do it!

Lola said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. You are such a lovely person.