It’s all about attitude.
People have been asking me how I get it all done being a full-time employee and a full-time student.
In response, I joke that you just have to take every single thing that you enjoy doing, and replace it with studying. I’m not actually joking though.
I realize this morning that you just have to take the moments that you can and enjoy them. For example this morning I was driving to work, marvelling that this was the first opportunity in days when there was no email to read, sort, and reply to and nothing to read. All I needed to do was drive, and sing at the top of my lungs. And it was kinda wonderful.
Most of the time I would be frustrated by the traffic frustrated by the waste of time that I had to take to commute. But this morning with my music out singing at the top of my lungs in my car looking like a fool, I realized that you can either hate the time you have to do things or you can enjoy it. I’m choosing to enjoy it. That’s why when I saw the beautiful sunrise, I made a quick lane change and found myself at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park. That’s my favorite park in Vancouver with an excellent vantage point of many many mountains many trees many birds. Just to take five minutes and stare out over the city that I love, with the sun rising, mist coming off of the ocean, and a beautiful cool breeze, it was wonderful, it was bliss.
It’s all about attitude. Space people ask me how I get it all done being a full-time employeeand
a full-time student. I think they know that I’m a little bit of a tight day
overachiever. It’s like they know me or something. I joke response that you just have to take every single thing that you enjoy doing, and replace it with studying. I’m not joking though. So this past three weeks has been very very busy. And I realize this morning that you just have to take the moments that you can and enjoy them. For example this morning I was driving to work. And most of the time I would be frustrated by the traffic frustrated by the waste of time that I had to take to commute. But this morning with my music out singing at the top of my lungs in my car looking like a fool. I realized that you can either hate the time you have to do things or you can enjoy it. I’m choosing to enjoy it. That’s why when I saw the beautiful sunrise, I made a quick lane change and found myself at the top of Queen Elizabeth Park. That’s my favorite park in Vancouver with an excellent vantage point of many many mountains many trees many birds. Just to take five minutes and stare out over the city that I love, with the sun rising mist coming off of the ocean, and a beautiful cool breeze, it was wonderful, it was bliss. My drive this morning was the first 20 minutes I’ve had in quite a few days where there was nothing to read, no email to reply two, no loved one cat friend or family asking for my attention or my love which I’m very happy together, but it was nice to not have to.
After nursing school, I headed west to Vancouver. I’d signed up to only stay a year. I’m having my 10th Anniversary in Vancouver very soon, so you know how that “1 year” thing worked out!
But anyway, I got hired onto a very very very busy surgical unit. General surgery, GI surgery, and ENT surgery. Oh and the “GI medicine” patients too, just to keep things spicy. We saw a lot of liver failure, hepatocellular carcinoma, pancreatic cancer, whipple’s procedures, crohn’s and colitis, as well as all the head and neck surgeries that you can dream up.
The manager and the senior nurses there were amazing. The educators and clinician were so so skilled. And the whole crop of us brand new grads were so wide-eyed.
Many of the patients there were going through brand new diagnoses of cancers that they’d never heard of, had fresh laryngectomies and could no longer speak, disfiguring neck cancers with a tissue flap, a fresh ostomy or colorectal surgery, or had a flare up of a crippling chronic disease. Their lives had changed radically in a matter of days and they needed patience, advocacy, and very specialized nursing care.
Those nurses I worked with (and still see and work with often!) exemplified busy but always put caring before anything. They were patient but firm teachers and made sure that the patients got the care they deserved, us ‘young uns’ learned it right, and continued building a team to support one another!
Finally in 2001, I dropped out of my BA program and realized that I should just go be a nurse. The next three and a half years of my life were absolutely challenging and a time of such amazing growth for me.
My small class of 45 people went through a lot together. We were the first class graduating from a college that was now offering a BScN programme. This meant a lot of *ahem* “growing pains” within the program, and even within the clinical placements who weren’t sure about the new style of education they were seeing.
The faculty who guided us through self-directed PBL got to see more than one brain meltdown, since this was such a vastly different way of learning than all of us who’d been to other universities before. We joked that you had to be self-directed to figure out what the instructors wanted, not just to learn the content. It was hard. But it was awesome.
Continue reading Guides and leaders
Unlike some colleagues, I didn’t always know I wanted to be a nurse. I’m so so glad that life happened in a way to guide my path to where I am now! In honour of Nursing Week 2015, I’m going to reflect on some of the amazing and inspiring nurses who have helped me along my path.
BNS: Before Nursing School
My grandfather had been in long term care in my hometown hospital for many years before succumbing to Huntington’s disease, and the nurses who cared for him and the others on his ward were amazing. Patient, professional, caring, efficient. I watched them weekly for the years that my grandfather was in their care. And I thank them for the care that they provided under the understaffed times of the early 90’s in Ontario.
The nurses that worked in my local public health unit were another amazing example for me of the important work that nurses do! 18 and my family doctor refused to give me birth control. So the awesome nurses at the health unit took up the slack. Supportive, respectful, and professional. This was pre-cellphone days, so they had set up a code name for me that if they needed to call the house they would use a certain name and I’d know it was there. I was floored by their dedication to discretion.
Next, my highschool boyfriend’s mom Kim was a fabulous and passionate labour and delivery nurse. After three kids of her own, she knew the value of a great perinatal nurse! She worked in many places as a travel nurse for years and spoke so wonderfully about delivering so many babies that it was easy to see that she loved her job in a way that not many adults I’d met before then did. I remember being in awe that she was so committed and passionate about her work! She taught me about the differences that good strong nurses could have in the difference between a forceps and 3rd degree tear vs an easy and intact birth.
I did a skills/aptitude test when I was 17. Top two suggested professions: Nurse and Physician. I still have that piece of paper.
And despite all of these examples for me, I didn’t see it yet.
I’ve worked in Vancouver’s DTES for many years, and learned about harm reduction, substance use, recovery, and healthcare challenges unique to clients who use substances from some of the country’s best and most progressive clinicians. As a result, I carry harm reduction with me wherever I go. I now work in a hospital, providing practice support and leadership for acute care nurses. We have some wonderful mental health and addictions clinicians, but I see a need for a wider group of nurses to learn how to polish their skills in working with clients from all situations and backgrounds. Continue reading Nurses reducing harms