PSW Perspectives

Joie Francisco

Personal support workers (PSW) are responsible for vital work, caring for our loved ones every day. The career is one that often goes unrecognized in many discussions around healthcare, and this is something we are working to change.

In the pursuit of this goal, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joie Francisco, a PSW, about the work that she does and the things she loves about it. Continue reading to learn more.

What is your favourite part about working as a PSW?

Working as PSW in the community (home care setting) had given me a privilege in getting to know the people, their back stories, cultures, the wisdom behind each character. I've been able to explore various traditions throughout the communities I serve.

What is one thing you want people to know about PSW work?

PSWs provide care in the comfort of their home, we are the eyes, ears, hands and legs (back bone) of the people we look after, we enhance the quality and dignity of each clients we care. We provide the essentials service in the healthcare sector by taking care of those who can't care for themselves. PSWs' soft skills are equally important as their hard skills.

What do you like to do on your own time, outside of work?

I enjoy silence in my "me "time. That's the time I unpack all the things my system got to absorb from work, from the people I got to know, go for a long walk (when the weather permits), and I do volunteer at the church (outreach program "out of the cold" serves meals).

Can you describe a typical day in the life of a PSW?

  • Start with checking our (phone) schedules/emails, read the client information (care plan, special functions) and prepare ourselves in the event of unknown "incident".

  • As soon as the shift starts, I see client after client (30 mins interval/travel time only) till the shift ends (sometimes there is a gap time for an hour or so, that's the time we eat and sit (washroom break).

  • We serve different kinds of clients in a day, which leaves us physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. At the end of the day, we make sure we report and document what is needed.

What is one thing you hope people will take away from PSW Awareness Month?

Being a PSW worker for several years has been fulfilling for me. I have found joy and happiness in my job, helping my clients feel that they are not alone, and that they are cared, loved and respected as a family.

A PSW needs to be valued and respected as well, and acknowledged at the same time. It's noble work. Bringing light to every patient. A simple and sincere appreciation is worth a million tons of happiness.