What inspired you to become a nurse?
My grandma was a nurse and often told me stories about it when I was little. That opened up my curiosity about it. I used to also babysit my Kinderbuddy, Shauna [Graveson ‘19]. Her mom was a nurse, so I often heard and asked questions about her work. I had other family members who were in nursing as well, so nursing was something that was all around me. When I graduated, it was something I knew I wanted to do.
Tell me about your own unique path to becoming a nurse.
When I graduated in 2006, nursing programs were quite competitive and had long waiting lists. I enrolled at Douglas College in General Studies, did as many prerequisites as I could, and ended up earning my Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) certification. After graduation, I got a position working at the place I did my clinical at. Though I never wanted to get into long-term care, my time during my clinical changed my entire perspective on nursing. So, even though I said I never would work in long-term care, I stayed at that facility for four years! I moved to another long-term care facility after that and have been there ever since. Now, I’m the clinical lead. Working in a hospital, you never know who you are going to look after. In long-term care, you can develop real relationships with your patients and their families.
What are some of the more surprising parts of your job?
That every day is a different day, especially with the challenges. Over the last two years during the COVID-19 pandemic I’ve learned and experienced so many new things. At long-term care facilities, families are a big part of our job. You are caring for someone’s loved one and are a big part of their daily lives. That’s a big change for residents and families alike.
What are the most enjoyable parts of your career?
You get to be with the residents day in and day out. You get to do activities with them and form a relationship with them and their families. Unfortunately, long-term care is often the last step on patients’ paths, so we are there to help them. With our activities program, we’re not only caring for our patients but we also get to do activities with them like playing games, baking, and next week we’re even gardening. We try to keep them involved as much as possible and keep some sense of normalcy.
What are some of the more challenging parts of your career?
The pandemic has certainly been a challenge. In addition to taking on a new role as clinical lead, I was also acting as the interim manager due to shortages. We lost a lot of staff during the pandemic, so the nursing staff was doubly affected. As clinical lead, I’m the oversight in the nursing department. I answer questions, deal with policies and procedures, assess patients, oversee floors, do rounds with doctors, deal with family concerns… it’s a really busy job.
What advice do you have for students hoping to pursue nursing as a career?
Do your research beforehand. Nursing is a stressful job and has its challenges, but it is so rewarding at the same time. Also, don’t limit yourself to one specialty since everything is so different. I wanted to be in labour and delivery and ended up in long-term care – the complete other end of the spectrum! If you’re thinking about nursing as a career, find nurses to speak with, see if you can shadow one, and find volunteer opportunities to get more hands-on experience. Not only will this help you better understand the career, but it will also help you get your foot in the door and start to develop the right mindset too.
Tell us an interesting/surprising fact about yourself.
My husband is a nurse as well. We met at the first place where I worked after graduation and we’ve been together ever since!
Tell us a bit about your life outside of nursing.
With my new position, we finally have time together on the weekends which we didn’t have before. I have two young daughters: Layla, who is six, and Aliya who is three. We try to spend a lot of time together outside and we keep busy with the kids’ activities on weekends.