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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First post

When I discuss my field placement with individuals, I have always placed international within quotation marks. When reflecting on the meaning for those quotations I have two reasoning’s; I feel like Canadian and American cultures are very similar and as a dual citizen to Canada and the States I do not feel that this is a true international experience for me. However, I have realized that though I visit Ottawa frequently, I have not gained a significant amount of knowledge, immersed myself, or have experienced the differences between these cultures due to normalizing my own life experiences within these two countries. Also, though the cultures are similar I feel that there are still differences especially in regards to their social policies. I have realized that my international field placement is an opportunity to explore and gain insight into a city that I have always taken for granted.

Ottawa is a very diverse city culturally, which can be attributed to the individuals who have immigrated to Canada from various countries. The shelter through Cornerstone Housing for Women provides services to many of these individuals with their commitment to assisting in addressing the homeless population concerns.

I am completing my placement in one of the supportive housing environments through Cornerstone Housing for Women and have spent the past month getting acquainted with the residents and the agency’s expectations of me for the school year. I have been running a weekly group for three weeks, which is a cooking group to help develop skills and independence. I have been linked to four residents within the house, meaning I am the go to person that they can connect with on a one to one basis, and have been working on establishing rapport with these individuals.

On a personal note moving back to Canada entails moving in with my father, stepmother, and two half-siblings. I appreciate the opportunity to complete my placement in Canada because it means that I also get to be more involved in the daily lives of my siblings, who are in their teens.

Currently, I am splitting my time between Ottawa and Northern New York (my hometown). The travel time between places is about an hour and half, this allows me to stay connected and be supported by my loved in both locations.

Within the upcoming week, I will be headed further north in Ontario to my family’s cottage to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. This is one of my favorite holidays and I look forward to connecting with family members that I only get to visit with about twice a year.

For my upcoming blog posts, I hope to share the similarities and differences that I experience professionally and personally between Canada and the U.S.

Thank you for joining me for my first post!

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