Phedeline is one of our nurses, and she has worked with us for two years – almost since the very beginning. We will never be fully able to express the gratitude we have for Phedeline and the excellent care she provides for the children and families in our programs. She has proven over and over again her capabilities and compassion when it comes to providing medical care.
We recently sat down with Phedeline and asked her about her position as a nurse here, and how the Espere counselling that we offer our staff has impacted her work and well-being. Here is the interview:
What do you love about your job?
I love when I help a family that didn’t have any hope for their child. Seeing that child making progress and starting to get better – and at the same time their mom or dad is changing also. They start to smile more often. That is the best part of my job.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of this job for me is the relationship between me and the parents. I can’t get too emotional in front of the parents that have a dying child, but seeing their faces tear me up all the time.
Why do you think it’s important to talk to a professional about your work here?
In Haiti, [talking to a mental health professional] is a taboo. If someone goes to see a professional, [people] will think that the person is crazy. A couple of months ago, a child passed away in my presence. That hurt me so badly, more than ever. I went to talk to the counselor and I felt so good after talking to her. She just listened without talking and after she just knew the right words to say to make me feel better. She let me know that I did whatever I could to save that child and it wasn’t my fault. After we finished talking, I stopped blaming myself, even though I knew it wasn’t my fault before. It took her and her words to help me get through it.
What has the Espere mental health counselling meant for you?
The counselling meant that even though I am a strong person, I will always need someone to talk to. There are situations that I can never be that strong. I feel good and more at peace after I talk to [the counselor].
Do you think it’s important for the families who have lost children to speak to someone?
It is very important. Every parent has one objective: to have children and watch them grow and have grandchildren. When a parent loses a child, they need support from a counselor. They need someone to talk to and help them grieve. They need someone who will just listen to them and let them cry. A counselor will help them through that.
Is there anything else you want to say about your role here at Middle Ground or the importance of mental health counselling?
I love how the center has grown from when I started here [two years ago]. I love the evolution and I have faith that one day it will be way bigger and be able to serve a lot of children. I love the counselling program. Before the nurses had to play that role, now I feel so good that the staff and the parents have someone they can turn to.