Heather found nursing as a second career and is passionate about this calling.
Heather found her calling in nursing as a second career. She graduated from Humber College at the age of 40 and has been nursing for 7 years. She is a Wound Care Champion at her facility, with a certificate in Fundamentals of Palliative Care and GPA techniques, and a Wounds Canada supporter. She is also a Workplace Ambassador of WeRPN.
Heather’s first nursing position was as a float nurse and she loved the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills. Early in her career, she realized how much she loved working with wounds. She soon mentored with her facility’s wound care nurse, Richard Bishop, and then took an International Interprofessional Wound Care Course. Since then, she has moved on to an Oncology unit. As a Wound Care Champion, Heather has become her unit’s go-to person for VAC dressings and other difficult dressings. She has even created wound care information binders to help answer co-workers’ questions and improve documentation to support with greater knowledge about the specific wounds for her unit. As an RPN, Heather is a valuable asset to her team. She provides quality and vital care to her patients, and much needed support for her RN co-workers who sometimes must focus on caring for very acutely ill patients. While her scope of practice may keep her from caring for the unstable patients, it allows her to use her skills to care for the stable patients, freeing up those who do have the scope. Heather’s skills in both physical care and emotional and spiritual care, are very much needed and appreciated.
Self-care is vital for Heather to function as she lives with depression and anxiety. She is committed to exercising at least 4 days a week for 30 minutes, eating a healthy, vegetable-heavy diet, and making time for the hobbies she enjoys like baking, sewing, drawing/painting, and spending time in the garden. She has been married for 17 years and is a mother of 2 teenagers and a sister to 4 siblings. Heather also serves as a secretary in her church’s Young Women’s organization.
Heather has had some wonderful experiences in her short career. For example, she was able to participate in the care of a patient who had a surgical removal of a massive bacterial infection that invaded his abdominal and scrotal tissue. She helped with changing his VAC dressing 3 times a week for 5 weeks. The dressing changes were initially 1.25 hours and included multiple doses of pain control. She was able to get the time down to less then 1 hour and a fraction of the pain medications, and included music for distraction, to help with pain control. Both Heather and her patient loved jazz music, so she would bring play Ella Fitzgerald for him and sing along while she did the dressing change.
She ended up meeting up with the patient again when he was on rehab a few weeks later. When she went to introduce herself, he said “I know who you are! You are Heather and you would sing to me while changing my dressing!” He went on to thank her for helping him and told me how much he appreciated her care and concern for his comfort.
In her workplace, she is most proud of the friendship and camaraderie they have on the unit. It is like a second family! Heather says she loves her unit brothers and sisters and the support, love, and care they have for each other. In her practice, she is most proud of the care and humour she brings. She treats her patients as she would her own family and tries to make their stay as comfortable and stress-free as possible. Everyday she tries to show the respect and honour she feels for being able to care for those who are dying, and show love and kindness to her geri-patients who are feeling their bodies fail them. She loves her career as a nurse!