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“We will always be advocates for chronic pain”
At the beginning, this practical training seemed to us students to be futile and useless but, thanks to your commitment to us, it became more and more concrete and was both rewarding and gratifying for us as nurses. We believe that your team’s vitality and our collaboration were keys to the success of our practical training. We worked with you for 8 months, and that period seemed so short. We greatly appreciated the members’ involvement in the activities that we proposed and organized for them, as well as their passion as it relates to the cause that affects them. The people who come to the association are fighters, and with a team like that, we believe that you will go far! We can state that we will always be advocates for chronic pain in our individual practice and that we will be more considerate and compassionate towards these people who are too often misunderstood. We hope that we helped the APVDC grow and we will keep them in a special place in our thoughts. Good relationships were created during this practical training and we know that they will continue to grow.
[Suzanne, Janelle, Nancy and Kathie, Nursing Sciences students, UQO]
“My prejudices have disappeared”
My practical training with people living with a chronic condition was very rewarding and pleasant. I learned about the impact of chronic disease on people’s daily lives and my prejudices have disappeared. The association is an important resource for people living with chronic pain, who often have no hope. I have learned about myself and also realized that a person living with chronic pain can still enjoy life and live it fully. Thanks to the two wonderful participants I worked with and thank you for having taken part in this practical training.
[Janelle, Nursing care intern, UQO]
“What we now want is to try and help them and be more understanding”
As part of a project for a community health course, we (I and three other students) had to get involved with an organization. As chronic pain affects many people, we decided to try and see if there were needs, and what we could do to learn more about them. To begin with, we were impressed by the atmosphere and the members’ positive attitude. We had, as did some at our school, pre-conceived ideas that this would be somewhat negative, and that the people we met would say things like: ‘we are victims, we suffer, it’s sad, it’s so dark...’. We also discussed this with our fellow students, who had other projects in other organisations, and they would say: ‘Oh, it must be boring’. It was quite the opposite! That prejudice was debunked; as it is not at all what we saw. It was so nice, so pleasant to see courageous people roll up their sleeves and try so hard to participate, be active and have fun, especially in relation to the variety show project they were developing at that time. That’s what we had with them. They were so welcoming.
With my colleagues, we took part in support groups. The people there opened up to us, and they talked about their daily lives. We learned a lot and became much more conscious of their reality as well as the challenges that must be conquered because of chronic pain. Among other things, and something we were absolutely not aware of, was that people with chronic pain also have good moments and that sometimes they are even criticized because they seem to feel too well and end up losing credibility about living with pain. But they in fact do have a lot of pain and must cross a lot of obstacles and difficulties every day, with their employer and their family, who don’t always understand. What we now want, as future health professionals, is to try to help them and be more understanding. In short, we want to say thank you, because it was a wonderful experience and we had a lot of fun during our practical training.
[Catherine Fleury Amireault, physiotherapy intern, University of Ottawa]