A Day in the Life: Kiruki

Name: Kiruki Ngumba
Program: 46 – Pain Field
Job Title: Direct Support Professional (DSP)  

Can you explain your job title a little bit more in depth for me? Meaning, what does a DSP individual do?
“A Direct Support Professional is an individual who is trained to take care of clients. These clients are individuals who have developmental disabilities and we support them in the items that they need for their everyday life. We are their teachers; we are the advocate; we are the ambassador. When you respect an individual, you give support to that individual with all your heart and with all your energy. You will subsequently find that this client becomes independent and when that happens it is very fulfilling and very touching.”

What did you do on your last shift?
“The job has its challenges but that’s what makes it awesome. Each client is very different from each other. Some of them have physical aggression, when others do not. When you find a client following you, who’s very excited to see you and tells the other DSP who was on duty, ‘bye-bye, bye-bye!’ that is a very sweet item to experience. I feel a sense of acceptance from that client. They feel that my presence is indeed appreciated.”

You had mentioned earlier that you worked night shift on Friday. What’s all entailed in working a night shift?
“During night shift, we have items that need to be completed. Most of the time clients are in bed by 10pm. First and foremost, on the night shift, you must ensure that the clients are asleep and safe in their beds. While conducting these checks, it’s important that you first knock. I make sure they are breathing, and they are comfortable and that their windows are closed. Once the first round of checks has been completed, I start doing the chores. This includes laundry, dishwasher, making sure the floors have been swept and mopped, and numerous other cleaning items. And of course, make sure that you document all that you do. Once completed, you go through the communication log to familiarize yourself with the development and activities the clients have participated from the previous day. I will also check the medications for any errors. If there are any, we document it.”  

Out of everything like you did on Friday, what was normal or typical?
“The normal part is that the clients are all safe and sound in their beds upon arrival of my shift. The environment was relaxed, and we’ve been having cooler weather recently. This benefits the clients as we’ve been experiencing high temperatures and that causes the clients to not get the proper sleep they need. During these times we use fans in their rooms, but even with this assistance, clients still would sometimes not fall asleep because of the heat. Summer is a challenging time, with the heat and the sunlight as late into the evening as it is, clients don’t like to go to sleep when it’s still light out.”  

Was there anything uncommon about your day on Friday?
“Normally there are not too many issues. However, with the clients’ evening routine there was a minor issue with a loud vehicle passing on the street, but after a little while everyone settled down. If there is ever an incident with a client, it is extremely important to write an IR (incident report) and make sure that you document it – for the client, and for yourself.”  

How do you make sure that you are showing a deep profound respect towards the clients that you work with?
“Showing respect is ensuring that what you want done to you is what you do to the person you are with. You hold the highest regard, regardless of the disability that they may have. You give love to the person. You respect the person. You treat the person as a human being. I always say that beyond everything else, these clients come first in my life.”  

If I could talk to one of your clients, what would they say are the ways that you respect them and show the SA Values towards them?
“I would be grateful, and also like to know what they have to say about me! But first and foremost, they show what they feel towards you in how they interact with you. At the beginning of a shift, they will tell the previous employee to ‘go home now, your shift is over.’ Then they will pat you on the back as you’re coming onto shift. With them being excited to see me and work with me, I feel that is how they know I respect them.”  

That’s all for now!

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