I have a passion about a PSW registry (Personal Support Worker Registry) for Ontario and everywhere, because I understand that eldercare is powered by "care" workers.
I have worked with many amazing caregivers, and feel that their attitude, compassion, and love of their vocation was real and genuine. But conversely, I have been part of dismissals where individuals, would best benefit mankind through a career change.
On occasion, after an employee dismissal (believe me, efforts to teach, retrain or provide an attitude adjustment, failed), I would receive a “nasty gram” in the mail; anonymous of course, produced generically on a computer.
No, there were no glued words from magazines like a ransom note (net flicks series rendition). Basically the context of the letters were always the same, that I was the despicable person, and they had found gainful employment in a place that truly loved and appreciated their caregiving skills. The obvious reference to detailed items in the closing arguments for dismissal, sealed the deal for me, I always knew the writer well.
Interesting these letters, how the themes remained common: anonymous, negative, and so lacking in insight as to why they no longer worked for me, were reassurance enough, that my actions were warranted and correct.
My work was done, I filled all legislative requirements and yet...no future employers called me for a reference, I wonder why?
Just another reason we need a current, functioning PSW REGISTRY, and should have had one years ago.
If only the original (now closed) ON PSW Registry had acquired teeth in the infancy stages, there would be future references formally recorded to speak to such dismissals. Future employers would be aware of employment concerns regarding possible new hires. I am certain that "authors" with a penchant for poison pen musings, would have at least considered a career change when opportunities dried up.
I hope we can rethink registering PSWs, for their protection as well as the public. I am told it would be costly. I don't know about you, but I think the value of our elderly population is worth the investment.
After all, we all want to work safely in an environment, where common goals regarding service, and quality care exist in harmony.
In my world,
- There would be mandatory reporting of PSW dismissals, with the initial investigation outcomes cosigned by the unions. I believe that stewards and union officials, need to be held equally accountable in termination proceedings. They too, hold a vested interest in who provides care.
- Any outcomes as a result of using negotiation and arbitration with a third party, would hold equal accountability to both parties. My priority is making the “Resident whole,” not the employee.
So hello Ontario Ombudsman and the MOHLTC…
Let’s get the PSW Registry back up and running with some teeth…not only to protect my beautiful elders and the amazing caregivers I so respect, but to enhance accountability and professionalism in care services.
In the meantime, I encourage Employers seeking references to start with the most important question, "Would you hire this person again?"
I can happily use teachable moments to improve quality of care, and I believe it is possible to mentor, coach and groom, amazing care providers. I cannot however, make people care…and neither can you.
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Disclaimer: This story reflects the cumulation of several experiences of colleagues working in many designations and workplaces. The aforementioned blog does not reflect the performance of any past employers/employees and their affiliated workplaces and is an opinion piece only.