Student says Garden Terrace placement has been a chance to positively impact people’s lives

‘I want all residents to be happy and to see them engaged – that’s what I like and I like to be a part of that,’ says Ellen Niekoop

Ellen Niekoop says the best part of her student placement at Garden Terrace has been the opportunity she has each day to make a positive difference in residents’ lives and to see residents tap into their full potential.

“I want all residents to be happy and to see them engaged – that’s what I like and I like to be a part of that,” says Ellen, a student in the community service worker program at the Native Education & Training College.

Ellen spoke with The OMNIway just before Christmas about her experiences as a placement student at the Kanata, Ont. long-term care home. One of the benefits to students doing a placement in long-term care, she says, is that there are many different things to learn.

Helping residents during mealtimes, assisting with activities and lending a hand to staff members where needed are among the things Ellen does when she is at Garden Terrace three days a week.

But she says her favourite part of her placement work is doing one-to-one programming with residents. It’s through one-to-one programming that Ellen says she has learned the most about residents and their strengths.

“If I have to choose from all the activities, I have to say I like the one-on-one activities the most,” she says. “(During one-to-one programming) I have a chance to chat with the residents, and for me it is an opportunity to see how I can make them happy or get them more engaged.”

While Ellen says she’s still not sure where her career path will take her, she says her experience “seeing the residents smile” at Garden Terrace has had a positive impact on her time at the home.

Ellen also says she would recommend Garden Terrace to students looking for placement opportunities.

“This is a nice environment to work in and it will give any student a feel for what they would like to do further on,” she says. “If you like working with people, I would suggest doing it.”

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