My First Night On Call by Joan Harris

After completing over 25 hours of training with STSM on how to be an effective victim’s advocate the day came for me to be on call. In training we had talked quite a bit about what being on call was like and how to handle almost any situation that may arise. In training we all conjured up situations that we felt may come and we asked MANY, MANY questions about what we should do. Our presenters tried their best at answering these questions, but as they had told us as well, we would know what to do once faced with the situation. They were exactly right!

My first night on call I had a hospital call (I couldn’t have ever imagined that happening!). My initial reaction was to panic, and I did somewhat. I did not have a bag packed, I did not have clothes laid out, and I had not read the survivor’s handbook. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t remember all the things that we were taught. I was scared that I wouldn’t say the right things to the survivor and therefore make an already hard situation even worse. I simply felt that I was not prepared and I was going to go make a buffoon of myself. None of this was the case! The only thing that mattered to the survivor was that they were not alone. I explained to the survivor that STSM was on their side and that STSM would be by their side from start to finish and even after that if they needed. After hearing that, the survivor told me that was what they really wanted to hear and they felt relieved. None of the other things that I worried about mattered at all in those few hours. I was by that person’s side at a time when they needed it most. I was their advocate and that was the most important thing.