Pros: real world experience with psychological disorders
Cons: difficult hours
A typical day at work could be anywhere from 8 to 16 hours, with time for one half hour or one hour long break. Shifts were from 6AM-2PM, 2PM-10PM, or 10PM-6AM, and staff were often asked to work doubles when someone else would call out or something would come up. Daily responsibilities included basic housekeeping for the clients, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry. On weekdays, we would wake the children up, feed them breakfast, pack them lunches and take them to school. Second shift would pick them up from school, feed them dinner, and engage in program-appropriate activities until bed time. The overnight shift required 15 minute bed checks and completing any household chores that had not been completed during the day. Whenever the clients had doctors appointments or home visits, we provided transportations. Over the summer activities were planned that were appropriate for the abilities of the children in the program, and the staff were in charge of transporting and taking care of the children when outside of the facility.
The management did their best with the resources they had. The organization and communication could have been improved upon, but important notices and changes were eventually communicated to all staff. Management was personable for the most part and were understanding when scheduling conflicts came up.
The coworkers I spent time with loved working with the kids and always did their jobs the best they could. They cared about the children and would often spend money out of pocket to bring the kids clothes, toys, and other activities.
The hardest part of – more... the job were the inevitable tantrums that would occur despite the staff's best efforts. The children would become violent and destructive towards themselves, their peers, and the staff. However, for the most part, when the meds were balanced and the staff were attending appropriately to the behavior plans of the individual children, tantrums were minimized.
The best part of the job was when a connection was finally able to be made with a child. Once they got to know you, they listened more often and engaged in more bonding and responsive behavior. Watching them form relationships with people and do well in other areas of their behavior was very rewarding. – less