Bella came to B.O.N.E.S. needing a new home. She had been greatly loved, but needed special attention to learn house training and overcome some fears. Loving, very smart, and having lots of energy, she made good progress while being fostered.
She was adopted by Vic and Nancy, who volunteer at hospitals, elderly centers, and schools. Bella showed her smarts by passing a series of training classes. She achieved Pet Therapy certification in 2016. Vic and Nancy will share stories about their experiences with Bella on this page.
You can also follow Bella on Facebook.
Try to remember your first job, college acceptance, or simply the start in a new school. Do you recall the anxiety, the first-day jitters, the impossibility of knowing the physical layout and remembering all the names? Is your sense of satisfaction rekindled knowing the success you experienced in gaining that new job? Do you remember the application, the documentation, the required reading, and the interview?
Well, for the next segment of our quest to become a Pet Therapy Team in local hospitals, all of the usual requirements for a new job application applied to us and the timeline covered almost two months.
The first step was completion of an application to serve as a volunteer. It included all the usual personal, educational, and professional information as if we were applying for a paying position. The application required references and a background check. In one instance, there was a ten-dollar fee. We had to agree to the ethics guidelines and provide proof of liability insurance as a Pet Therapy Team.
We received a positive response to the application, signaling readiness for the next steps: viewing a webinar regarding the central hospital model, then downloading, reviewing, and passing the quizzes regarding the contents of the hospital handbooks. They tested my recall and comprehension of protocols, guidelines, mission statements, and emergency responses. Volunteers are also required to understand and abide by HIPAA (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), which governs confidentiality of patients and their information.
Health-care facilities in Rhode Island focus on a concept called "Patient-Centered Care." We had to understand its tenets, as every employee and volunteer utilize these concepts in their work with patients and families. "Acknowledge, Introduce, Duration, Explain, and Thank (AIDET)" has become part of my active vocabulary. I am now a disciple of "Every Patient, Every Time."
Another requirement: both pet and pet handler have to meet health standards. We submitted Bella's health records and a vet's certification of good health. I, too, had to complete a series of health steps. I had to complete the flu immunization, MMR, Tdap, PPD, and TB requirements before we could begin our work.
Finally, we were ready for a meet-and-greet interview and ID Badges. I was given my "volunteer's vest" and permission to park in hospital parking lots. We learned the attendance requirements, position responsibilities, competencies, and the physical layouts of the hospital departments that we were assigned to visit.
After completing all this, we were ready for our official first days! Was it worth it?
Next time, we'll share our first days on the job.