experience

I stated in my first post that I began this new address largely out of the desire to retain my anonymity. In some ways I want to keep everything here as nondescript as possible, yet go into immense detail about my experiences. So this is what I’ll write: I’m a young thirtysomething living in the Midwest. I’m currently enrolled in a community college. I’m two semesters away from graduating with an associate degree in nursing. I hope to graduate in December of this year, pass my state boards and become a Registered Nurse. I then hope to up the associate degree to a bachelor. I ultimately wish to work as a hospice nurse.

I mention the above because now I’m taking Complex Family Nursing – it concentrates on the person and not the patient. As part of the course I spend two, eight-hour days a week at local facilities that focus on working with the homeless, the developmentally disabled and the dying. Last Friday was my first clinical; it was split in half with four hours spent at a local, faith-based homeless shelter and the other four at a day-care facility for group home patients, who all suffer from some form of mild mental retardation.

I’m looking forward to these clinical experiences because those involved are among society’s most vulnerable, and speaking as a Socialist, this is the group that would most benefit from aggressive social programs, which, even prior to the recent economic collapse, suffer from insufficient government funding and, more important, attention.

At the homeless shelter my classmate and I spent most our time in the kitchen prepping for lunch. The home currently holds about 40 men and two families. (Women are housed at a separate facility.) According to the home’s coordinator, the three-story building will house approximately 300 souls during the winter months.

What’s most remarkable about the shelter (I don’t like using the word shelter because this place offers above-reasonable quarters and valuable resources) is that it runs 100% on dontations. They receive no federal funding. Standing inside a near-warehouse sized garage filled with donated items is a special experience. It renews your faith in the human spirit.

The only issue I had with the facility is that there’s a strong focus on religion, specifically Christianity. All residents are required to attend the in-house chapel service, which occurs every morning at 8AM – and it’s seven days a week. Residents are also required to attend, at least once a week, an outside church service. I don’t have a problem with random drug/alcohol screens (although, where are the homeless addicts to go?), but it does concern me that an individual will be expelled from the home if they fail to attend religious services. They’re under no federal guidelines per se, so they can do as they please; I simply believe the religious requirement is excessive. I understand (but disagree) the facility uses the church to establish a support system, but such systems can be used without employing Christ.

More later.

t/c/m

(Oh, and seriously, the aforementioned Exmilitary by Death Grips is absolutely devastating. CANNOT stop listening.)

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~ by the coordinates of memories on 31 May 2011.

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