The Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie is paying tribute to essential workers in our community. Today in our Frontline Fridays feature we talk to Kate Wight (shown at left in photo) who works as a Therapeutic Recreation Assistant at the John Noble Home, a long term care facility in Brantford. Visit: John Noble Home (jnh.ca)
Thank you to all our essential workers who have helped us cope with the COVID-19 pandemic in Brantford, Six Nations, New Credit, and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk.
What does an average day look like for you?
Kate: Working in the Recreation Department at John Noble Home in Brantford, my typical day starts with reviewing reports from the last shift and making sure that I have all my supplies and equipment ready to go to run my day smoothly. I connect with our team before starting my daily Therapeutic Recreation (TR) programs. Our programs improve our residents’ quality of life physically, emotionally, and socially by helping them engage in recreational activities. Normally these activities may include arts and crafts, music, dance, sports, theatre, games, and community outings.
When I am not providing TR programs, I work on our monthly calendars, planning meaningful programs for the residents and completing assessments. Recreation assists with both annual and admission care conferences for each resident in the home. Each day, we must be sure that proper documentation is inputted by the end of our shift.
What has it been like to be an essential worker during the pandemic?
Kate: Being an essential worker during the pandemic has helped me become more flexible and adaptable in my daily routine. I believe learning to adapt to change is key to success in my work.
During the pandemic our daily program calendar has shifted to either small group programs or “one to one” visits. Under current Ministry guidelines, only essential caregivers are coming into the home, we have our own designated area and assist with bringing together residents with their loved ones virtually through Skype and Facetime. This has proven to be a meaningful connection during these unprecedented times and it has been great for getting to know each resident and their families more closely/intimately. We encourage families to send letters or pictures through our home’s email as well.
What made you pursue your career? What lead you to take a job in this community?
Kate: 5 years ago I made a mid-life career change. I attained a diploma in Recreation and Leisure Services and Recreation Therapy from Canadore College. I volunteered at the Willet Hospital and did my placements at various local long term care homes including John Noble Home, where I have been employed since 2019. I pursued this career because I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives and support seniors in my community. Brant has always been my community and I wanted to give back in a positive way.
What have been the greatest rewards and challenges in your work?
Kate: Being a recent grad and coming into the field in the middle of a pandemic has been a challenge. It looks different from the way our job/role would look like pre-pandemic. The big reward this past year has been feeling like I am making a meaningful contribution during these uncertain times and knowing I am making a difference in the residents’ lives by engaging and providing comfort to both residents and families.
What have been your greatest supports and means of coping as an essential worker this past year?
Kate: My greatest support as an essential worker this past year has been having a strong peer base and knowing that we have a great supportive team as we navigate through this together.
What advice would you give to someone interested in pursuing your career?
Kate: My advice to someone interested in pursuing this type of career would be to spend some time volunteering in a few different settings – retirement homes, day programs, long term care facilities or hospitals – to learn what would be a good fit for you. All these environments are fulfilling and rewarding in their own unique way.
Thank you to Kate for sharing her story and the staff of John Noble Home for all the tremendous work they do each day.
Local Training and Certification for careers like Kate’s:
Personal Support Worker | Full-time | Ontario College Certificate (conestogac.on.ca)
SkillsAdvance Ontario: Personal Support Worker Training – HSCI 10188, CRED 10148 | Mohawk College
Recreation Therapy – 283 | Mohawk College
Gerontology – Interprofessional Practice | Fanshawe College
Skills2Work | CCES Fanshawe College
Six Nations Polytechnic:
Personal Support Worker (110) | Six Nations Polytechnic (snpolytechnic.com)
Statistics Canada Occupational Classification:
NOC 2011 – 3144 – Other professional occupations in therapy and assessment – Unit group (statcan.gc.ca)
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