Friday, July 18, 2014

Volunteering is a long process

When Bogie was taking obedience lessons, the trainer suggested that he would make a good Pet Therapy dog, visiting people in hospitals or nursing homes.

I didn't think much about it until my mom was in surgery in May.  As we waited for her to come out of surgery, a volunteer came around with a Golden Retriever.  It was impressive to see how much the people perked up when the dog came by.  Myself included.

So I decided that Bogie and I should do that together.

The first step was to get Bogie and I certified as pet and handler.  I thought the Canine Good Citizen made us a shoo-in.


Certification required three visits to the hospital visiting staff, patients and their family.  We walked 3 floors of one hospital, then 3 at the medical center next door.  We had to learn to pass in front of the nurse's station first, so they were aware we were on the floor.

We had to watch for patients that might be interested in a visit.  We had to watch out for room labeled with allergies or no contact warnings.  We had to keep mental track of how many people we visited, per building.

I kept track of people, as best I could, mentally.  There is a clicker counter that one can carry.  But the requirement that I keep two hands on Bogie's leash plus carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer to offer people, left me no free hand for the clicker.

So Bogie was certified.  I got his official certificate and figured we were all set.

Not even close.

This week I attended a three hour orientation that was more intense than any job orientation I've had.  Of course, I'm a software engineer, not someone working in the medical field.  I've had the sexual harassment training, but this is the first time since the nuclear power station that I had to learn about emergency codes.

Codes for fire, cardiac arrest, missing child, chemical spill, etc.  Plus segments on hand washing and infection prevention, HIPAA regulations, and what can and cannot be done for patients.

Done, right?

No.  I had to have a TB test and I had to have my immunity to childhood diseases checked.

TB negative.  That's good.

Mumps titers negative.  That's NOT good.  That indicates a lack of immunity to mumps. When I had mumps as a kid, I was told I could get them again since I only had them on one side. I figured that was a myth.  

Apparently not. 

So I have to get immunized before I can get started.  

I'm anxious to get started.  I wonder what the next step is? 

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