Meet Ben Parkin: A Caregiving as a Career Story

Nurse Next Door

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“You love coming to work. You are treated with kindness, and have found belonging at Nurse Next Door.” These are the first lines of our People Promise; a commitment to the Caregivers who are at the heart of what we do. 

Working at Nurse Next Door means being appreciated for the work you put in; being given the freedom to choose; and seeing the endless possibilities in Caregiving as a Career. 

Ben Parkin, Personal Support Worker (PSW) turned People Experience Coordinator is living proof of this promise. In August 2020, Ben was hired by Clarington Franchise Owner, Kim Jimmo-Shields as a Caregiver.  He developed deep and meaningful relationships with his Clients and loved the feeling of being able to help those who may not be able to help themselves, while still allowing them to maintain their dignity and independence. 

When Ben and his wife made the decision a year later to move from Ontario to Nova Scotia, Kim – who recognized Ben’s tenacity, passion, and thoughtfulness –  connected him with Hendrik Botha, Franchise Owner of Nurse Next Door Halifax.

“Coming to Nurse Next Door, I knew I didn’t just want a job; I wanted a career.” – Ben Parkin

Ben continued his work as a PSW and Caregiver in Nova Scotia where he was quickly recognized for his talents in recruitment and was swiftly promoted to People Experience Coordinator

We sat down with Ben (virtually!) and from the moment we connected, his sunny disposition spilled from the screen. His relentless positivity and true passion for Making a Difference made it easy to understand exactly what caught the eye of our Eastern Canadian Franchisees. 

We first asked Ben, “Why Nurse Next Door?”:

“The word fulfillment comes to mind. I’ve always wanted to help people, and my values aligned with the company’s from the get go. They’re all about putting people at the forefront and providing a level of care that’s more like a family than a business. It makes you feel good about what you do.  

When asked what he loves most about his job, Ben replied:

“This is a completely new role for me. I love the fact that it challenges me and it pushes me outside my comfort zone. You really need to think like a son or daughter. I’m always in the mindset of what qualities I’d look for in hiring a Caregiver for my Mom or Dad.”

His past experience in Caregiving has given him both the knowledge and compassion needed to fully activate in this new role. “Ben is an amazing Caregiver. The Clients he visited spoke very highly of him. He understands what they and our Caregivers need and through this new role he can help create the perfect match between both parties.” says Hendrik.

Ben made many memories with Clients but one in particular stood out to him the most:

“This one Client I had was a charming and intelligent man who was born in Germany and lived there until his early 20s. He moved to Canada until retirement then travelled the world with his wife who sadly passed away almost a decade ago. I was assigned as his Caregiver after his lung cancer progressed and he became palliative; but the diagnosis didn’t stop him from living as much life as he could. We immediately bonded over our mutual love of music, nostalgia, and games. A real friendship began to develop, and we’d spend many hours going through his old photo albums, listening to his mixes and learning as much as we could about each other. I took it upon myself to download Duolingo – a language learning app – to learn some basics in German and he even taught me some things like how to count to 10! Through our conversations, I learned what some of his favorite recipes were; ones he hadn’t been able to have since his wife passed. I made a point of trying to make them for my Client from time to time. My purpose has always been to make my Clients as comfortable and happy as possible. I genuinely believe that I was able to achieve that up until the very end of his life. I will never forget the impact he had on me; the man with the fantastic spirit.”

With our hearts full we asked Ben what advice he has for other Caregivers in the industry: 

“Be genuine with your Clients. Take an interest in their stories, lives, the things they tell you, and the things they don’t. One of the greatest things I learned when becoming a PSW was that ‘all behavior has meaning.’ I can tell you first-hand it is one of the truest things I’ve learned about aging and being able to help people. We might not have all the answers but taking a step back to look at the situation from another perspective will help form a better and stronger bond with your Clients. At the end of the day, it’s all about making sure they’re happy, healthy, safe, and cared for.”

When asked what advice he has for other Caregivers seeking professional development, he says:

“Stay focused on your goals but always remain agile. It’s good to have plans but plans can change and by staying open and stepping out of our comfort zone you’ll find ways of making a bigger impact. In my experience the leaders genuinely care about you. They want you to grow and succeed. I was so used to having that 1 on 1 care with Clients, but now I’m able to do so at a larger scale; empathy is a huge factor in this industry, and by having a hand in instilling these values in our new hires I can ensure that we’re delivering on the most premium care for our Clients.” 

Ben is one of the many examples we have seen across North America of Caregiving as a Career. Our commitment to our Frontline team members is to present them with opportunities to develop in their roles. We’ve seen Caregivers go on to nursing school, become multi-unit Franchise Owners, support team members like, People Experience Coordinators, and beyond!

Find a Nurse Next Door location near you and discover the endless possibilities of Caregiver as a Career today. 

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