CT Technologist, Victoria General Hospital; yogi, meditator, Self-Care Café volunteer, outdoor enthusiast, human
Originally, I wanted to become a physiotherapist. After a year at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, I decided it wasn’t for me and it was my dad who suggested looking into the Medical Radiologic Technology program at NAIT, also in Edmonton. I did some research, a job shadow, and discovered it was along the similar lines of interest— biology, human body, helping people— and that was it. I’ve been a CT Technologist for 15 years.
Since moving to Victoria five years ago from Calgary, I’ve worked at both the Royal Jubilee and Victoria General hospitals, though my permanent role is at VGH. So many patients are under stress, struggling with feelings of anxiety as they’re awaiting a diagnosis, or have been in a traumatic incident. I try to make their experience at VGH the best it can be; it really makes a difference. To be able to spend time with them, give them a bit of space to share if they need, and just to help make it a bit more comfortable is really impactful.
My day can vary so much, as we help outpatients and inpatients, as well as those admitted through the emergency department. We also perform specialty scans, like cardiac and colon scans, and biopsies and interventional procedures. If the emergency department is busy, we can expect to be busier as well– and being the stroke and trauma centre for Vancouver Island, we accommodate a lot of unexpected cases. We provide all of the patient prep ahead of the scan, bring them into the scan room, and then perform their imaging. Afterward we do the post-processing. Each day is very full, and never the same.
CT is such a key piece in diagnosing conditions, and access to this technology is so important. Since I’ve started my career, the scanners continue to get faster and provide better image quality; having state-of-the-art equipment is vital.
“So many patients are under stress, struggling with feelings of anxiety as they’re awaiting a diagnosis, or have been in a traumatic incident. I try to make their experience at VGH the best it can be; it really makes a difference.”
“At Victoria General Hospital, I’ll often take my break in the labyrinth. I enjoy the peace of the space and how it’s surrounded by trees as I eat my lunch or dinner.”
Movement is important to me; so too is stillness. I love nature. Whether it’s hiking, beach walks, or camping, the outdoors is so accessible on Vancouver Island, and I’m grateful for that. Even going camping on the beach at Sombrio for a night is easy to do. Being in nature is soothing.
When I’m at work it’s still important for me to get outside, even just for a few minutes. At Victoria General Hospital, I’ll often take my break in the labyrinth. I enjoy the peace of the space and how it’s surrounded by trees as I eat my lunch or dinner. I feel recharged after spending even a few minutes here.
I started practicing meditation about seven years ago. I was looking for something to help ease work-related stress. When I can’t get outside, yoga is an incredible outlet, and it was through yoga that I naturally shifted into meditation. One of my yoga instructors in Calgary offered a ‘learn to meditate’ program, so I joined. After practicing for a few years, I completed my teacher training. I noticed the impact and the benefits of meditation pretty quickly, and it has become a daily practice.
Since then, I’ve taught drop-in meditation classes at various fitness facilities in Alberta and Victoria. I’ve also offered introductory meditation courses, over four days. It’s wonderful to share meditation with others. To watch as people pause, relax, and take a few moments for themselves is truly a beautiful thing.
It’s through meditation that I became involved with the Self Care Café. I started leading drop-in, group meditation. While I took a break from leading sessions over the summer, I’m looking forward to getting back into it. Colleagues in the hospitals often asked when they could join in, and it was deeply rewarding to know I was having a positive impact on their day.
As healthcare workers, so much of what we do is patient-related. It’s energy output. It’s a lot more focused on others’ needs, and we forget sometimes that we as staff need the same care. Being part of the Self Care Café team is wonderful. The vision behind it is powerful: created by Island Health staff, for Island Health staff to pause, reflect, and relax.
In addition to meditation, other drop-in events are offered including workshops and speakers, crafts, and even massages. Plus, the Self Care Café has become mobile, going to units at Victoria General and Royal Jubilee hospitals where care teams might not be able to step away. In September, a coffee cart toured around RJH with some snacks, flowers, and draw prizes for staff. To be able to provide little moments of relaxation or joy can make such a big difference in somebody’s workday, especially in the healthcare setting.
They are humans first, who put other humans first.
More than 7,900 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.