Joan is a nurse in a center for homeless people located in a large U.S. city. She describes the qualifications necessary for her position: patience, persistence, and the ability to apply creative approaches to client care problems. Her role is one of facilitator and advocate who helps clients gain access to other services in the community. She ensures that each person is clean and presentable when requesting services. Although the shelter provides shower and laundry facilities, Joan makes sure everyone uses the toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, and razors.

She reschedules missed appointments for her homeless clients, providing for transportation if necessary. Clarifying instructions from other agencies and helping clients with job applications are also on her list of caregiving interventions. Every opportunity to provide client education is taken. Joan instructs her homeless clients on the importance of good nutrition, safe sexual practices, communicable diseases, and other health-related subjects. She works with each individual to set and reach realistic goals. She sees every person as worthy of respect and dignity. Although her successes may be small, “hearing someone express that since he was able to get help for his problems, he now feels better about himself and is motivated to change his lifestyle provides this nurse’s personal reward and professional satisfaction in working with the homeless” (Foster, 1992).

• According to Maslow, what needs is Joan helping her clients fulfill? (Refer to Chapter 5.)

• What resources are available for the homeless in your community?

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