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Cultivating Myself in My Work in a Nursing Home

Aug. 30, 2022 |   By Mingli, a Falun Dafa practitioner in China

(Minghui.org) Referred by my cousin, I went to work as a caretaker in a nursing home. Before I started, my cousin had already told the management there that I was only applying to work on the fourth floor, where the management offices and conference room were located. She thought that I would never agree to work on any other floor.

When I went for the interview, the director of the nursing home assigned me to the third floor on a trial basis. The east side of the entire second and third floors had only bedridden residents, the most difficult to handle, so job applicants were required to work their trial period there to see if they could handle the job.

I saw that the people in the nursing home were old, weak, sick, and disabled. I felt indescribably depressed and bitter. Life’s impermanence and sadness, misfortune and desolation gathered within me as a pain that tore at my heart. What I cherished and rejoiced over more than ever was the precious, unparalleled opportunity Falun Dafa gave me to cultivate!

After the interview was over, the director said he’d get back to me.

He originally agreed to have me work on the fourth floor. When the managers saw that I looked comparatively young and used to work in an office, they were afraid that I wouldn’t work out as a caregiver. However, during the trial period on the third floor, an employee asked me to help her clean a room because the supervisor was scheduled to do an inspection. When other people worked the trial period, they just took a tour and made a decision on whether they would accept the job or not. I, on the other hand, worked for half a day, cleaning up everything, even under the beds. At noon, I helped her feed the bedridden residents.

The director saw everything I did on their surveillance cameras, so when I officially came on board, he assigned me to work on the east side of the second floor with all the bedridden patients. My cousin right away complained about it, saying that she had stressed many times to the director that I would work only on the fourth floor, and the director had agreed. But as a practitioner, how could I be selective? Moreover, I felt that the seniors needed my help.

Treating the Residents with Kindness

The sanitary conditions were very poor on the second floor. Inspectors had never given it a pass, and the residents’ family members also complained about it. Almost all the residents were bedridden and elderly. The work was tiring, and the managers weren’t pleased with the work that was being done.

After I started, I first cleaned the rubber mattress covers and the changing pads for the bedridden residents with hot water. Because the mattress covers were hardly ever cleaned, I discovered a thick layer of urine had accumulated on the mattress cover of one bedridden resident who was over 100 years old. The handrails were fairly high, so the patient could use it to sit up. But they often drooled on the railing, eventually leaving a thick layer of phlegm. I put on gloves and cleaned them by rubbing them hard with steel wool. I cleaned every room thoroughly, including mopping the floor with hot water several times. Thus, the original, suffocating smell disappeared, and the air was fresh and clean.

On my first day at work, I tidied up the bed for the resident in Room 3 who’d had a severe stroke. She was only 60 years old, but she had lost the ability to speak. She needed help turning over. If she ran into a good caregiver, that person would check on her from time to time. Unfortunately, most workers didn’t have that sense of responsibility. As soon as the shift changed, the good caregiver disappeared. If their supervisors didn’t check on them, they rarely took the initiative to return to check on a room. Sometimes when the residents needed their diapers changed, they had to wait a very long time and their skin ended up red or ulcerated. Especially during the hot summer, the smell was overpowering.

I gave the resident in Room 3 a shower, changed her diaper, put on baby powder, covered her with a thin quilt, and adjusted the speed on her electric fan. When I was about to have my lunch, she soiled her diaper. So I had to change her again, which left me little time to eat. My coworkers asked me why I didn’t finish my lunch before cleaning her up. I said that would be hard on her. She and others like her were already so miserable having to live the rest of their lives like that.

This resident in Room 3 had no mental issues, and her appetite was good. When I first started working there, she was very skinny. To keep her from soiling her diaper, some of the caregivers tried to give her as little food and water as possible. They encouraged me to follow suit, but I didn’t. These residents were already unfortunate to begin with and that would have gone against my conscience. Moreover, I practiced Dafa; how could I possibly do that? When fish was on the menu, I picked out all the bones and fed her the meat. I tried my best to have her eat as much as she could and to eat well. I also chatted with her whenever I had time. Within two weeks, her skin became fair and she’d gained weight.

Her daughter was very happy when she next visited her. She praised me to the management of the nursing home. She also offered me gifts, which I declined. She truly hoped I would stay where I was to help her mother.

If I did not practice Falun Dafa, I could have been like one of those residents, or even no longer around, so I often put myself in their shoes and treated every one of them with compassion.

Two months later at the nursing home’s quarterly meeting, I was recognized as an outstanding employee and was commented on, which was unusual. Because they presented me as special, I told my manager that I was simply following the rules and doing what I was supposed to do. But my manager said that I had made holistic changes to the second floor. How could they not give me an award for that? Later, when I clarified the truth to my manager, she agreed to quit the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its youth organizations.

Treating Coworkers with Kindness

Working in a nursing home, one has to deal with caregivers from the lowest levels of society. Doing this kind of work is not considered respectable. At first, I tried to hide it from my family and didn’t tell them what I did. After they found out, they were totally against my working there. The caregivers in the nursing home argued over petty things, with no one giving way. The next shift change would never do even a little bit of work that the previous shift didn’t finish. And if they had to stay for even half an hour longer, they’d talk to their supervisors to make the other party pay for the overtime, as this was nowhere near an easy job.

One time, I was on the shift that started at midnight. After I finished my shift and was ready to leave, the team leader asked me to help change a diaper for a bedridden resident because she didn’t have gloves. I did what she asked and was about to head home.

When I passed by the rooms I was responsible for on my shift, a senior in one of them had sudden diarrhea. It came on her before she could even put her shoes on. The mess was all the way from her room to the washroom and even in her shoes. The caregiver who took the shift after me was mopping the floor. She asked me if I could help clean it up since she didn’t have gloves on. I didn’t say anything but went ahead and helped her. Then she asked me to clean the woman’s shoes.

Later on, all my coworkers said I was dumb to stay and help her. They said I should have just left after the shift change since I wouldn’t be paid extra. They said nobody else but me would have done it, especially because that caregiver had a bad reputation of doing the same thing to other caregivers. However someone behaved, I treated everyone with a practitioner’s mindset, so I had a good reputation at the nursing home.

When I later submitted a resignation because I decided to go to Beijing, my manager wouldn’t approve it. When the resident with the stroke in Room 3 heard that I was leaving, she cried out loud. Her daughter said that her mother was very fortunate to have such a good person to take care of her. Her daughter was also relieved to have me caring for her mother, so she also kept asking me to stay.

During the seven months that I was in Beijing, the director and manager called me many times, so I felt that I had to return. This time, they assigned me to the third floor, where there was a man who’d had a stroke. He was in his 70s. His body was rigid and curled up, but he spoke just fine. Before the stroke, he’d run a home renovation company. His children often came to visit him. Each time they brought me gifts, but I always declined. They didn’t understand why I didn’t accept their gifts, and it made them concerned that I wouldn’t treat their father well. I told his children that it was due to my belief that I would never accept their gifts or cash. I asked them to be assured that I would treat their father well.

The caregiver on the shift before mine started working there before I came to the third floor. She had made a rule of her own: She’d never give a bedridden person water at night so they wouldn’t wet the bed. Not only that, when she worked with the senior residents who were mentally challenged, she sometimes pushed them into the washroom where she hit and cursed them.

After I started there, I chatted with the seniors. At night, when I was on my shift, I gave them hot water. In the winter, I also used hot water to wash their faces. Since I broke my coworker’s “rule,” the previous shift was offended. But the seniors knew I treated them well. When we spoke, I clarified the truth about Dafa to the seniors and told them to recite, “Falun Dafa is good, Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance is good.”

Since the majority of people in our nursing home knew I practiced Dafa, I took the opportunity to clarify the truth to them.

Master said:

“You can be a good person whatever your strata of society, and have few wants and attachments.” (The Fourth Talk, Zhuan Falun)

Master has used his Fa principles to ceaselessly wash away my post-natal human notions and have me ascend in Dafa time and time again.