This PSW was born with his heart on his sleeve and a fire in his soul
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This PSW was born with his heart on his sleeve and a fire in his soul

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For sensitive people like Mike Watson, every word, action and energy goes straight to the heart.

“My downfall is that I care so much, it affects me as a person,” says the soft-spoken 44-year-old in the fall of 2017.

Wearing blue scrubs and running shoes, the Personal Support Worker (PSW) takes a minute from his busy job at Carveth Care Centre to accept the home’s Employee of the Month award for October.

A single father of one, Mike radiates energy and happiness.

He smiles often which is surprising for a man whose life is full of starts and stops; markers for when he had to put his life on-hold to provide end-of-life care for his parents and brother who died of cancer.

“I did homecare for years before I got into this line of work,” says Mike about the health care he has been providing for the past 17 months at the accredited long-term care home in Gananoque.

Asked to describe the job, he replies quickly, “It’s fantastic.”

“It’s more challenging mentally than physically. Sometimes it’s tough to address behaviours and turn them around. I just want to make people happy. To do that, I treat them the way I would like to be treated.”

Describing the work as ‘very rewarding’, it is clear Mike puts his heart and soul into caring for people. Previously, he operated a fork truck for Tim Horton’s.

Looking around the activity room where a crossword puzzle sits half finished, he notes, “It’s hard when someone passes away on my shift. I take it personally. But it also makes me look at my life differently. Since working here, I appreciate how short life can be. Anything can happen. It makes me appreciate every day.”

Asked to describe himself, Mike uses words such as sensitive, respectful, kind, compassionate and organized.

He is a gifted guitar player and is good at time-management.

“The female residents love him,” says Office Assistant Marcie Gagnon with a smile while walking past the activity room. “Mike has a good demeanour and doesn’t rush.”

It is a sentiment shared by residents and staff.

“He is very good at what he does,” says Lou Rasmussen, a 92-year-old resident of the home who recommended Mike for the award. “He’s not scared to try anything. Mike is nice to the old people. He really cares.”

“I recently had the opportunity to work a night-shift with Mike,” adds Lynn Vereecken, Assistant Director of Care. “Watching him interact with residents and staff, it is clear he has a positive attitude and is a very hard worker.

“Mike is also a strong team player who is kind and caring to all of the residents,” continues the senior manager. “He exemplifies what we look for in a Personal Support Worker. Mike is a wonderful addition to the nursing team at Carveth Care Centre and deserves this workplace award.”

Visibly surprised and grateful for the recognition, the PSW doesn’t pause when asked about his work style and methods.

“A calm approach is key in this field,” he explains patiently.

“It’s hard to work with diseases because they’re unpredictable, but it’s important to still treat a person with respect and compassion. It’s important to me to treat people the way I would like to be treated.”

Carveth Care Centre is grateful for the compassionate health care of Mike Watson.

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