Skip to main content

"You Must Have Patience to Work with Patients"

“You Must Have Patience to Work with Patients”

by Dale Ulery of Hawthornden State Hospital

 

One of the many different jobs that fell to the lot of CPS men in mental institutions was being in charge of a detail of patients to do various jobs around the institution. This was the job that was assigned to me after I had worked on a ward for four days. I was expecting to receive more training to know the different types of mental illnesses, so that I might know how to handle each of the patients assigned to me, but found out that you were supposed to learn that by experience.

The work that was done by the detail of men consisted of almost anything that has to be done on the ordinary farm. For example: planting vegetable seeds and plants, hoeing and picking the vegetables, cutting and husking corn, hauling manure, cutting timber and cleaning fence rows, cleaning the lawn, hauling coal and cinders, digging out stumps, and building roads.

Anyone desirous of having their patience increased, could do so by being in charge of a detail of patient workers at any mental institution. Some like to run off. Some like to be the boss. Some like to be outside but are little interested in doing any work. Some must be especially watched or they will eat anything that they can get hold of, others because they will annoy someone and start a fight. To find out which patients will not stand irritation is of great importance, as I found out by experience. One time I learned almost too late as one man started swinging his shovel with deadly intentions. Only one time did a patient go so far as to hit me in the jaw twice, but as I practiced non-resistance, love overcame him. Some must be told to start working, while others would not work if told to do so, but must be given a suggestive thought about what is to be done. This will bring forth a cooperative spirit and much will be accomplished. Most patient workers do their best if the detail attendant works with them, as one of them.

The Word tells us that "the wages of sin is death." As one works in a mental institution, he sees this in a twofold sense. Many are paying the penalty of being deprived of a normal existance [sic] even in this world with the eternal death to follow. One feels the inward urge to divert the increasing of humanity who are going down to rise no more.

 

--Taken from They Also Serve. p21. In "Brethren CPS Publications. 'They Also Serve,'" folder 17/35, series IX-13-1. MCC Records Collection, Akron, PA.