It has been three months since I started my new job as a nursing home social worker. It's something I've wanted to do on & off for years, ever since my sister fulfilled that role at the small town nursing home she worked at years ago. Now here I am, 20+ years into my career and it was time for a change. I've had a few changes, so this wasn't the first, but it is definitely one of the most significant. My first social worky job out of college was working with adults with developmental disabilities and I was in that field for 15 years. I loved it, but after that amount of time I was ready for a change. My next venture for the following 5 years was working with children with autism. Loved that as well. It was HARD work tho, very physical and I finally decided when I began having trouble with my knees that maybe I was getting too old to be sitting on toddler chairs and running (yes running) around after kids all day. Last year I took a position at the middle school as a para...not exactly my field but I did it for a couple of reasons. I wanted the opportunity to work with adolescents, wanted to be in Winona (I had been commuting to Rochester for 2 years) and I wanted to have the same schedule as our kids. It was a great experience! One I intended to continue (I was secretly hoping it would give me an "in" in the school district which may lead to a school social work position at some point). But when this opportunity arose last summer I definitely felt called to accept.
So here I am...my first experience in the medical field and it's very different. It's like they are speaking a different language, those nurses. My first several weeks there I would sit through meetings and take notes, not having a clue what the heck they were talking about a majority of the time until I started asking more questions and figuring out all the medical lingo (I bet you don't know what EA of 1 means, or SOB or mechanical soft). Google comes in really handy for things like that! I won't lie, it was pretty overwhelming at first. But now that I'm a few months into this I feel like I can take a deep breath and say "ok, I am beginning to get this now".
I look at this, and every job I've had, as a ministry. This is where God has placed me to make a difference. In the lives of these people. Right now. I have prayed a lot about my role there and wanting to have an impact. I am so thankful that I work for a place that values spirituality and embraces it even. It is not unusual or questioned if anyone wants to pray with someone or talk about things of faith. I realize what a blessing that is as a Christian, because so many places that is not accepted or even allowed.