I have been at my field placement for a little over two months now! Since I haven’t updated everyone on my orientation process for Cornerstone Housing for Women, I thought that this subject would be the focus of today’s blog post.

On my first day, I met with my field educator and was assigned to be the “link” to four different residents. The “link” is the go to person for a specific resident in regards to any of their concerns, completing assessments, and updates on paperwork such as treatment plans. I was told that the residents I am linked to are four of the more difficult ones at 515 MacLaren, this made me a bit nervous at first but I also appreciated that they felt that I could handle the caseload. I was provided some background information on the four residents that I am linked to and then introduced to them. Through my experiences, I have found that reading files or gaining information about a client beforehand is not always the best course of action, due to the causation of preconceived notions about an individual that may not always be correct.

The most shocking part of my orientation surrounded medication. In agencies that I have been employed or have interned at in the past I either was not allowed to dispense medications, as a nurse was responsible, or I had to go through extensive training(s). At my current placement agency, the process was explained and demonstrated to me and I gave medication to residents about fifteen minutes later. The amount of responsibility that goes into dispensing medications has always been emphasized in past agencies and I have honestly always been concerned about giving out medications in fear of not doing it correctly. However, I had a staff member on standby if needed which decreased my anxiety surrounding the entire process, I also appreciate how there didn’t seem to be so much pressure surrounding this task.

I was able to have tours of the other supportive housing building in Cornerstone Housing for Women which is called Booth, as well as the shelter, which has been the first stop for many of the women receiving housing though Cornerstone. I was able to have a conversation with a nurse from Ottawa Inner City Health regarding their harm reduction services that are provided to the residents. I am interested in gaining knowledge about the addiction field in Canada vs. the U.S. as I have worked in the addiction field in the past and am currently taking courses in hopes of obtaining my CASAC. For anyone who is interested in harm reduction for individuals with addictions, Inner City Health is a great resource to check out, as I feel that many of their approaches are quite progressive. In the future, I plan on creating a blog post that is focused on the differences I have experienced in working with individuals with addictions in Northern New York and Ottawa, ON.

Thank you for reading!

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36 thoughts on “Orientation

  1. Pat Shelly

    Hello, Kayley,
    Good to hear you have been immersed in your placement, as well as learning about other housing options and substance use, harm reduction and addiction services. In what ways is Inner City Health harm reduction efforts progressive? Does Ontario have any supervised injection sites for IV drug users?
    Regarding dispensing medications: sounds like there are different laws regarding this in CA vs USA.
    I like learning how different approaches can reframe how we think about roles and responsibilities of social workers.

    1. kayleyle Post author

      Hi Pat!
      I will be expanding upon your question about Inner City Health harm reduction efforts in my next post, I will also be discussing some other agencies that have harm reduction approaches.
      Thank you for your response!

        1. kayleyle Post author

          Thank you for this article Pat.
          Through conversations at my field placement and Canadian family gatherings the idea of how health care is not considered a basic human right in the United States has always been a response when discussing health care in the U.S. I have had many individuals tell me that they would rather pay more in taxes to know that everyone would have access to care. I do agree in the article with how there is a two tiered system. Many times in the U.S. when Canadian health care is discussed this is not mentioned. Many individuals also hold a higher level of insurance through their employers that allow more premium services. However, for me personally, knowing that everyone has at least a basic access to health services would make me sleep better at night.
          I hope your holidays were lovely!

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