Awake Night DSP Position Allows Growth in Daytime Passion

“When you support someone – even in the smallest way – it’s so satisfying, especially when they appreciate what you’re doing for them – it just makes you feel really good,” Dan Harrison said.

Dan has been working at Liberty ARC as an awake night Direct Support Professional (DSP) for the last 15 years. He’s worked at more than 25 different residences, and has learned something new from each home he’s worked at.

Dan originally started working at the agency because he needed a night job that offered him the flexibility to continue his daytime passion: managing a horse stable.

“A fulltime day job just doesn’t allow me the time to take care of the horses properly – I have to ride and exercise them so that they’re ready for shows,” he said. “My awake night schedule at Liberty helps me accomplish this.”

Aside from the flexible schedule, Dan said he also likes that his awake night position doesn’t involve working with big groups.

“Right now I work by myself – I’m thorough and I know I can depend on myself to get the job done,” he said. “Depending on the type of residence, you can work alone at night or with a partner. Having a good partner who you can communicate with is key. I prefer working independently or with a partner because in big groups I feel out of my element.”

A typical night for Dan involves ordering and logging in medications, taking inventory, doing routine bed checks, cleaning the house, checking expiration dates on stock medications and other procedural tasks. He also helps wake individuals up in the morning, assists them with preparing their breakfast and gives them their medication before he ends his shift.

Dan said that he’s developed a few close relationships with those he’s supported over the years.

“When you support someone in this capacity then you develop bonds,” he said. “I’ve developed a strong bond with one individual, in particular, because I help her out when she has nightmares while I’m working. She has an adrenaline rush and is scared after waking up from the dream, and I’ve helped comfort her by telling her about myself and how I’ve also had to deal with nightmares.”

Dan’s advice for anyone thinking of starting a position at Liberty ARC is to be open-minded and always practice good communication.

“This job can get stressful, like any job can,” he said. “You just need to find the right place for yourself within the agency, with a team that you work really well with – communication is the key to success, and voicing what you want and like or don’t like about a position can help you find the perfect place for you.”