Why did you choose to become a nurse?
I am not sure I chose nursing… I think nursing chose me. From a young age, I was always very curious and aware of my surroundings. I was always very sensitive to people’s feelings, how they reacted to things, and was able to identify what was not working in people’s lives. It’s hard to explain, but I always knew I needed to care for people, and to help the most vulnerable in their time of need. So, I applied to nursing school and have become very proud of the profession I have chosen. Thirty-one years in the healthcare setting and I still have the same passion and drive for nursing.
What is your area of expertise or specialization and why?
My area of expertise is in health and physical assessment. My experiences in cancer care and emergency department critical care, and management of an active acute medical teaching unit all helped me build on health and physical assessment skills, which come very naturally to me. Everyday as a nurse in practice, I learned something new; every experience with a patient and their family has been different and enriching. Every person is unique in their presentation of signs and symptoms, and we, as healthcare professionals, must adapt our care to address the uniqueness of individuals and their families. Every situation and case scenario is rich and teaches us about how we deliver care to all, across cultures and generations. My experiences have helped me to develop an expertise that I am able to keep building on. Nursing is a fast developing profession and we need to change with the times to better support the novice nurses entering the workforce.
What motivated you to join the faculty at the Ingram School of Nursing?
I began teaching health and physical assessment in 2008, and was able to continue working as a nurse manager, which was a great blessing, as this helped me to stay current with my practice and stay true to my exceptional team on the unit, while bringing lived experiences and cases to the classroom. This gave me credibility, and helped me develop the health and physical assessment course over time. I was also able to work with former students and colleagues on the clinical teaching unit, and see the students during their clinical placements, making it easier to relate to them.
After 30 years in a clinical setting, the opportunity to become fulltime contract academic staff (CAS) became available, and it was time to step into an environment where I could continue to feed both my passions: being a nurse, and helping to develop future nursing leaders. The students and my colleagues at the school helped me make the choice to move from clinical to teaching, and I am so proud to be a part of the school and remain affiliated with the clinical environment.
What do you love the most about your job?
I see bright, motivated, and gifted students every day, and am able to share my knowledge and expertise with them to help them grow into this profession. Nursing is something I am so proud of and deeply passionate about, and I love to see the students’ enthusiasm, and watch them flourish in their time at McGill. To witness how they transfer their knowledge to the bedside and prepare to embark into their futures is precious and important to me. Having opportunities to work closely with undergraduate and graduate students in different courses such as Health and Physical Assessment (HPA) and Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) and then bringing them into the clinical settings gives me the opportunity to see the integration of new knowledge to the bedside. Our students work hard and are committed to their course of studies and to the profession, we need to encourage, support and be present in order to make a difference.
What is something you want people to know about nursing in general?
I think all nursing students should know is that nursing is an incredible profession, one that is very broad, and each student can find their own area of expertise and excel at it. I also know firsthand how challenging our profession can be, and I encourage all our students to ensure that they have a supportive network to help them through the challenging times, and with whom they can share the best of times as well. The first two years can often be the most challenging years, and nursing students need to be prepared and supported.
To be a nurse is to experience the fullest spectrum of emotions. Throughout my career, I have cried, laughed, and shared the most intimate moments with many patients, families and colleagues. As much as I know I have made a difference in the lives I have touched throughout my career, it has been reciprocal, and I am thankful to my profession for this gift.
Anything else you’d like to add?
My nursing career has given me so much, and I hope I can have as big an impact on the students and on the Ingram School of Nursing (ISoN). Moving from expert nurse to novice teacher is a humbling experience, but I have found the energy, the spirit and the motivation to give it my all, for the students, for my colleagues, my family and myself. I am proud to be ISoN faculty.