Gina M., Personal Support Worker, is the recipient of the Circle of Care Award for Home Care Excellence as part of our Spotlight Awards series.
Spotlight Awards: Gina’s Lifelong Career of Caring
Ever since Gina was young, she’s loved helping people and taking care of others. It’s the reason she’s dedicated over 25 years of her career to roles where she can make a real tangible difference in the lives of the people she cares for.
“Being able to be there for others both emotionally and physically is so meaningful to me,” says Gina. “If I can improve their quality of life, then I’m happy and satisfied.”
Before joining Circle of Care’s PSW team in 2019, Gina worked as a midwife for 18 years in Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. Then, she supported the mental, emotional, and physical growth of young children as a nanny for four years. And after that, she became a private PSW for nine years to an elderly couple in Toronto with complex health issues and dementia.
“I know how important it is to have someone care for you– especially when you get older,” says Gina. “So, I take care of my clients as though they’re my family, because I would want someone to treat my parents with just as much attention and respect.”
As a PSW, Gina’s duties include assisting with personal hygiene and grooming, along with providing household management, socialization, and emotional support. She helps her clients with their routine activities and supports their independence.
Through her years of experience in caring for others, Gina knows that while the basic duties of her role are to support her clients physically, her role – and the impact she has on clients – goes so much further than that.
“Isolation is so common among older adults, and this isolation can lead to poor mental health, and a worsening of physical ailments as well,” says Gina. “So, I try to connect with my clients as much as I can to help make them feel safe, happy, and healthy.”
Even during her toughest days, Gina always looks forward to seeing her clients.
“Sometimes I can have hard or frustrating days, like all of us do. But being able to help my clients and make them happy really changes my mood. Connecting with them and caring for them is like a form of therapy for me,” says Gina.
Learning and Growing by Doing
Just like every other healthcare role, there is a constant opportunity for PSWs to learn and grow in their role. Gina embraces this aspect of her job, and continuously improves her skills and knowledge to support her clients in any way she can.
“Every time I learn a new skill, I’m able to help more clients with different needs. It can be very challenging but it’s always rewarding and fulfilling at the same time,” Gina says.
Gina’s ambition and drive has not gone unnoticed. She’s been highlighted by many of her colleagues as a person who goes above and beyond the call of duty.
“Gina willingly took on a client that we were struggling to find care for,” explained Gina’s supervisor, Mae Janer. “The client had had complex needs, and a regular time-specific schedule. Gina volunteered to work outside her availability every other week to ensure this client received consistent quality care. The client and family have been so thankful for Gina and often compliment and share how she has been a godsend to them.”
Gina understands the importance of supporting her team, and tries to be there for them as much as they are for her.
“My Service Coordinator Alyssa is just amazing! She always makes me and other PSWs feel like a priority by immediately getting back to me whenever I call her,” says Gina. “It’s a wonderful feeling to know that I have someone who supports me and is there for me in any situation, so it’s important to do the same for them as well.”
Celebrated for Home Care Excellence
In December 2020, Gina received the Circle of Care Award for Home Care Excellence as part of our Spotlight Awards series. This award is given to a PSW or Homemaker who displays commitment and dedication to their role assisting clients in their homes. They are the embodiment of excellence and are considerate and compassionate towards clients, while also acting as a role model for other PSWs and Homemakers.
“I felt so blessed, grateful, and overwhelmed at the same time about receiving this award. It goes to show that all my efforts and everything I do for clients is recognized,” says Gina. “It gave me a boost of confidence and I hope that I can continue to be an inspiration to others as well.”