Registered Nurse at Victoria General Hospital, runner, hiker, optimist, partner, human
It was really hard to find a career that suited me well. I was looking for something that would give me the opportunity to go in many different directions, because I didn’t have a clear plan of what I wanted to do. There are some people who know they want to become a pilot and then they become a pilot, but I didn’t really have that. I knew nursing would offer me a lot of opportunities. But I had to grow my skills around dealing with people in all kinds of situations.
Now, I have worked as a nurse for 20 years. I was hired into the ICU in 2015. Starting in the fall of 2020, I took a year away and joined the Hospital at Home program. It sounded like a good opportunity to explore something new. But last fall, due to the pandemic, I was asked if I would return. Once I was back in the ICU, I found it still felt like home. I think my skills are best used here.
We respond to immediate need or risks, and I really need to be on my toes and recognize changes early because, aside from being nurses, we are also the extended eyes of the physician, and we need to be able to say, okay, something is wrong here.
I just take huge pride in trying to provide the best care I can, and really trying to make a difference for patients and their families in whatever they’re dealing with. That’s really what drives me. I will always try to provide care in a way that I would like to receive it, or try to provide it for a family member.
Nursing has become a part of me, and it fits my personality. If you can make a difference, it’s also rewarding. Your work does have an effect on somebody’s life.
“I just take huge pride in trying to provide the best care I can, and really trying to make a difference for patients and their families in whatever they’re dealing with.”
“As nurses, it’s also important that we balance ourselves. If you don’t have a life outside of work, you’re going to burn out.”
As nurses, it’s also important that we balance ourselves. If you don’t have a life outside of work, you’re going to burn out. A part of my nature is that I have a tendency to compartmentalize things. So, if I’m at work, I’m at work, and I just focus on that. Whatever else is going on in my life is secondary. When I’m away from work, other things become important. You need to recharge yourself.
It helps me to have hobbies and interests outside of the hospital that I can draw energy from. For me, sport is important, and being physically active. I try to integrate it into my commute. I’ll run or cycle to work. I’m participating in races and hiking. My partner and I are outside together, going for hikes or geocaching. I’ve also picked up sewing, which I enjoy so much. For me, it’s really about having interests that are completely different—something that is good for the soul, like baking bread.
During the pandemic, I randomly met a very active senior on the Galloping Goose Trail. She’s always cycling the same stretch that I’m running on. One day, we happened to start a conversation, and now, every time we meet, we have a little chat. Sometimes we don’t see each other for weeks, and other times I’ll see her twice in one week. She has this concept of “forest bathing.” It’s just being in nature, and for me, it’s a semiconscious process. I am just there and trying to listen to the birds and seeing what kind of animals are around that day. I think this probably has a really therapeutic effect on me. I feel recharged and it definitely helps.
Personally, I’m very positive-oriented. There are so many bad things happening in this world, but at the same time, look at where we live. Look at the beauty of the nature we have here—the forest, the ocean, any of it.
There was a teacher I had in nursing school who said, “Yeah, it’s an emergency. Let’s slow down.” It was like, we do one thing at a time, and we do it properly.
I remember very early on in my nursing career—I think I was still a nursing student—and there was a unit manager who I had the privilege of working with, and she said, “You have such a calm nature. Make sure you preserve that. You’re going to encounter all kinds of busy situations and kerfuffles, and you’re going to do well if you can stay calm in such situations.” Thinking back, this is something that hasn’t necessarily always been conscious, but has followed me through my career. It’s something that I can cultivate even more now that I have the necessary experience.
I would tell my younger self to be a bit braver and express your thoughts and opinions. I tended to be, and still maybe am, a bit of a shy person. I preferred to keep things to myself until I was really sure what I thought about situations. But I’m realizing more and more that my intuition is not always that bad. Just speak it out loud. Just share your thoughts more courageously.
To keep myself going, I just think about my loved ones, and trying to contribute to our life, their life, and how that kind of spills over to people in general. There are so many good people out there, and if we all do our share for society, we can make society better as a whole.
Being human is having emotions and having a level of consciousness about ourselves. If I compare humans to animals, we have the ability to reflect on ourselves, and to use this capacity to connect with other people and let that lead our lives, both personally and professionally.
“There are so many good people out there, and if we all do our share for society, we can make society better as a whole.”
They are humans first, who put other humans first.
More than 8,400 caregivers and staff work around the clock at Royal Jubilee, Victoria General, and Gorge Road hospitals.
#HumansFirst is dedicated to sharing the stories from behind our hospitals’ frontlines. These stories remind us that those who provide care and keep the lights on in our hospitals also have lives outside of them. They have family and friends, they enjoy hobbies and interests, and they have all lived through their own personal triumphs and heartbreaks. Like all of us, they are human, and they have a story to tell.