“In my career as a RPN, I have been blessed to work with a host of different age groups, from the elderly to the very young. Unique job opportunities have opened up in the fields of practice for RPNs. There are interesting jobs that were not open to us in the past. My wish is to see RPNs in all facets of health care in happy successful jobs.”
Many of us go back to school, but not many nurses can say they’ve gone back to school the way Anne‐Marie has. Anne‐Marie is employed at Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton, an independent school that offers programs for more than 1,100 students ranging in age from 2 ½ years to university entrance.
Anne‐Marie works with children from JK to Grade 8, lends support to the Senior and Montessori schools and supports the faculty and support staff as well. She does this work as part of a health care team that includes an RN and matron. Anne‐Marie says school nursing is rewarding, but does come with a host of unique challenges, such as medication administration, infection control through hand washing demonstrations and being a first responder to a host of bumps, bruises and athletic injuries.
“As a RPN, I have the opportunity to help ensure the safety and good health of not only my own family but the community of Hillfield Strathallan College, which is very much my second family,” she says. And as times change and new strains of viruses, medications and procedures are introduced to health care, she says she recognizes the importance of staying current on the latest issues and techniques through health education.
Anne‐Marie believes it is a nurse’s duty to provide the very best health care in a timely and nurturing manner. Her main duties at the school entail ensuring the health and safety of all students. But on any given day, she might find herself monitoring sugar levels and administering insulin for certain students who have diabetic needs, or supporting students who receive medication on a daily basis. Her responsibilities also include promoting the importance of preventative health care (e.g. the ‘healthy schools program’ that ensures classrooms have fresh fruit as well as a snack that follows specific guidelines) Anne‐Marie also helps to support first response actions including working with the health care team to ensure that EpiPens and first aid kits are refreshed and updated throughout the school.
Anne‐Marie came to her role at Hillfield Strathallan College with many years of experience, both within and outside of health care. She graduated from the Mohawk College Nursing diploma program in 1991 and has 15 years nursing experience. She also worked outside health care, having graduated from George Brown College with a diploma in Human Resources Management, but says she missed the nursing profession and ultimately returned to it. “Utilizing my skills as a RPN and as a mother has helped me to acquire and maintain a unique blend of knowledge and compassion,” she says. Her career also included ten years of phlebotomy for Canadian Blood Services and five years at the Brant Centre caring for residents with Alzheimer’s disease.
Anne‐Marie has been happily married for 13 years and has two beautiful children. She enjoys card making and scrap booking as well as antiquing and movies.