I believe in Public Service

Cindy - Oxford, North Carolina
Entered on February 9, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50

This I believe…………..

I believe in Public Service and have dedicated my professional career to being a public servant. I started work out of graduate school at a Veteran’s Hospital, and followed that up with work in State Psychiatric Hospitals and in hospital run by University Health Care Systems. I worked once for five months in a privately run hospital but found out very quickly that this was not my niche. I currently work for a State Government Agency that regulates health care, very specifically nursing homes in NC. While I could make much more money in the private sector, I believe that it is my duty as well as my life’s work to be able to give back to others and in some small way help be an advocate for those who are unable to speak for themselves and have a life in their final days that is filled with dignity and respect.

When I went to graduate school I had the thought that I could make a difference in what I did with my life. I went into Social Work to help figure out who I was and to also figure out how I could help those who needed help. In graduate school I did field work both in a nursing home and in a Catholic Charities with their aging population. So I had the opportunity to look at two very different types of aging. Back in 1980 when I did the field work in the nursing home it was a dreary institutional place, much different in what I see today. Once I got out of graduate school I went to work in a Veteran’s Hospital initially on an acute medical floor and then later in the nursing home care unit and in the community nursing home program. I learned to love the Veteran’s and appreciate the sacrifice that these men had made for their countries. I believe that it helped to solidify my sense of patriotism to my country.

Part of my work was in a State Psychiatric Hospital where I had elderly patients that families had essentially abandoned them to the state system. Some of my patients were in their 80’s and had no contact with their relatives since they had been dropped off bag in hand at the front door. Some of these folks had been in their 20’s when their families sent them away to the “insane asylum”.

When I worked in the University Health Care System I worked with a larger variety of patients, mostly head injured patients and spinal cord patients. I saw young lives devastated, and older lives decimated through stroke. I once had a mother tell me that I was an angel and didn’t know it. This after I helped her place her 23 year old severly head injured son in a long term care facility for the remainder of his life. I was not what my assumptions were of an angel, but of the person that probably dashed the last hope that she had of her son ever being whole again.

Finally I currently work for State Government in NC and my agency regulates nursing homes according to the federal guidelines. It is the work that I will retire in as I feel that I can truly make a difference in the way our elderly are managed and cared for when they are unable to stay at home and live independently. I feel that it is an honor and a calling to be able to work in this capacity to make some small difference in someone’s life. State employees are many times accused of being, lazy, over paid, slack at doing their jobs and bureaucratic. I know that it is a scary thing when a government employee says to you, Hey I work for the government I am here to help! I believe in that corny line and work each day to made a difference in the lives of nursing home resident’s in NC.