February 17, 2012
Godwin-Piyasena-blog

College Student Success: Career Change from High Tech to Health Care

Godwin Piyasena, a native of Sri Lanka, had a career in high tech, advancing to such positions as systems management engineer and software engineer. At his last high-tech company, he was asked to train the offshore engineers who would take his job.

Today, he has a job that won’t go offshore.

Non-traditional student becomes Certified Nurse Aide

Godwin is a Certified Nurse Aide for HospiceCare of Boulder and Broomfield Counties.

“I give compassionate, end-of-life care to my patients,” says Godwin, who works nights for the agency. “At the same time, I offer peace of mind to family members so they can concentrate on daily activities. I give family members rest during an emotional time for them.”

A Passion for Elder Care

After Godwin’s high-tech career ended, he discovered he had a passion for caring for the elderly. First, he spent 3½ years caring for his mother.

“She changed my life,” he says. “I decided to go back to school and help elderly people. I liked the atmosphere and staff at Front Range Community College. You feel like you are in the right place.”

After graduating and becoming a Certified Nurse Aide, Godwin took a job at Balfour Retirement Community in Louisville.

“My responsibility was helping people who were less able or unable to help themselves,” he says. “I focused on the person, not the task. When I saw a smile on their face, I knew they were satisfied, and so was I.”

Home Visits to Hospice Patients

He has the same attitude now that he works for HospiceCare, but usually the environment is different. Instead of working in an assisted living facility, he visits homes for the majority of his work time. The remainder of his work is the agency’s HospiceCare Center, an acute care facility.

“A major part of my job is to go into the homes of my patients,” he says. “It is a lot of responsibility to conduct yourself properly. A lot of the families don’t know about hospice until they need this service. Later, they tell you they couldn’t manage without your help.”

 

About the author:

John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College. He’s a somewhat-frequent bicycle commuter, a certified soccer referee, and a newspaper editor whose subscription ran out.

Comments:

April 22, 2012 Alice from Senior Housing

Being able to focus on the person, and not the task has got to be one of more challenging parts of being a carer/nurse/a person of medical profession. Several of my friends became paramedics and nurses, and when they speak about their work, I hear about the gore, the vital signs, the logistical problems, but never anything about the very people they are saying or caring for.
Good for Godwin to see that, in the end, it’s about the people, and not the job. People like him make a huge difference to those around him.

September 17, 2012 Nataly

Hi John, this is an inspiring story. Its not easy switching careers and more so when the present and future careers are so diverse in nature. Godwin had the courage to explore something totally new and be good at his job. Its good to read that he not only takes care of his patient but also understands the emotions of patient’s family members.

January 31, 2013 Leonard

I think we should all volunteer in a hospice care facility. Elderly people and especially those that are close to death are often overlooked in our society. Thanks for the article, it is very inspiring.