A Day in the Life of a PSW (Part 2): Marian, Deerwood Creek Community

Posted by Marian McIntyre on May 12, 2023

Marian is a personal support worker (PSW) at Deerwood Creek Community in Etobicoke, Ontario. She has been working there since 2005. Marian is one of Deerwood Creek's Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Champs. This role helps to ensure the community has all of the proper IPAC measures in place to keep residents, team members and visitors safe by preventing the transmission of viruses. She is motivated and enthusiastic about the practices that support everyone's safety. Marian is dedicated to her role as an IPAC Champ. However, she is still passionate about caring for residents and will pick up shifts in the home areas to help when needed. She typically works from 11 am – 7 pm.

What’s your routine before work?

My mornings are busy before heading to work. I take my two shih tzu dogs for their morning walk. My nephew also stays with me during the week, so I'm helping him get ready and walking him to school. If I have time, I tend to the garden in my backyard. I love nature! I try to get a few chores done, and then I am off.

What’s an IPAC Champ?Marian, a PSW and IPAC Champ stands with her suply cart

My day starts as soon as I sign in. First, I check the report from our IPAC lead to see which home areas need supplies and pack my cart to ensure team members have what they need – i.e. masks, gloves, and gowns.

I meet with the charge nurse to see if any residents have isolation protocols, that the supplies for those rooms are up-to-date, and that the proper signage is in place for team members and visitors.

IPAC plays a critical role in long-term care, and having a dedicated role is important because it shows these measures are a priority. Throughout my shift, I also perform audits and different types of education.

Knowing hand hygiene and PPE compliance rates allows congregate living settings to accurately understand areas for improvement and where more education is required.

The results from the observations raise awareness and provide an opportunity to educate and engage staff, family members, residents and visitors in the program.

The goal is to reduce the spread of infections by improving hand hygiene and PPE compliance. We also support this goal with scheduled and on-the-spot education.

Is it difficult to correct people on their IPAC practices?

Providing on-the-spot guidance on IPAC measures is important because it is a good way to teach and remind team members in the moment of best practices. It does mean that I have to stop people sometimes when I see that they've missed a step or could improve the approach to hand hygiene or donning and doffing personal protective equipment.

I have worked at Deerwood Creek for many years, and there is a lot of respect between team members, and that's why we feel safe and comfortable bringing up safety concerns. One of my biggest strengths is that I have developed a calm approach to educating team members about IPAC practices. I try to make it fun, and they appreciate the reminders I give. I always try to have a smile on my face, so when team members see me coming, they know I'm there to help.

What do you like most about your job?

I know I am making a difference by being an IPAC Champ. I am helping keep people on track and protecting residents, families and staff.

Do you miss working directly with residents?

As an IPAC Champ, I am still able to connect with residents. There are opportunities for me to engage with residents and provide assistance throughout the day. I know them all so well that they never stop being like family to me.

Do you have any additional responsibilities?

I have also started hosting tours of the community for new residents and families. This is a new initiative at Sienna and another opportunity to get involved and grow my role within the company.

What’s the last thing you do before you leave?

Before I leave, I go around the community to ensure our evening shift has the IPAC supplies they need overnight. We don't want team members looking for supplies. That takes time away from residents, so it's important that everyone has what they need.

Marian, a psw and IPAC champ re-fills the supply cart

Read Part 1 of A day in the life of a PSW: Michelle, Weston Terrace Community 

Topics: Long Term Care, Sienna Senior Living, Cultivating Happiness, Life at Sienna, Career, Inspiration, PSW, Personal Support Worker, IPAC, Deerwood Creek Community, IPAC Champ