Selena Russell, BScN, RN
Care Coordinator, Short Stay Team
I am very grateful to get up every day to do something I truly love. Caring for people is rewarding above and beyond all expectations.
When I was a child, my father worked in health care. I grew up watching someone I loved and admired caring for others. I would help him whenever I could, which I found incredibly rewarding. Health care was a calling, and it became a passion. After high school, I went to McMaster University for Nursing. I have found both liberation and gratitude through my passion for caring for others.
There are so many facets to health care. You’re not only taking care of people when they are ill, you’re also promoting health. When I speak with patients, I also look at their well-being. I look at what would keep them safe. What can help them stay in place, avoid a fall, and avoid the hospital? I look at their medication. I leave them with resources that will provide them with extra support to keep them healthy. I’m not only looking at their treatment of their illness, but what their support systems are, what other services in the community can help them stay in their home as healthy and as long as possible.
Here at the WWLHIN, I work on the Short Stay team. These patients normally need our services for a short amount of time. Sometimes they are transferred to another team if their care needs change. I often get to follow a patient through their entire treatment plan. Even though most of my work is done by phone, I do develop connections with the patients. Every time I pick up the phone, I remind myself I have that moment to make a difference in my patient’s life.
In this job, I collaborate with many different health professionals and colleagues to coordinate patient care. That coordination makes a big difference for our patients. I remember working with an oncology patient who was receiving stem cell treatment for her cancer. The nurse who was providing care in the home alerted me that her needs had changed. After consulting with her oncologist, I connected with the patient. She had a lot of questions and wanted to plan for her needs down the road. From those conversations, I realized she would eventually need palliative care. I connected her with the palliative care coordinator for her geographic area. Today, she is still on my caseload, but I was able to alleviate her stress that when she is ready for that level of care, someone will be in touch with her and the transition will be smooth. Those conversations helped to lift a huge burden.
Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can make a big impact. I had another patient being treated for cancer on my caseload. She had a small child and needed emotional support for her family. By searching online and making phone calls, I was able to give her information about a counselling centre close by her. Just knowing where to look for community resources, I could find the information to help with this one need. It was a small thing, but it was one more thing she didn’t have to go looking for when she already wasn’t feeling well.
I’m a very optimistic person. When your glass is always half full, you don’t see anything as empty. I always see opportunity. When I come to work, I keep focused on the patient. I make sure they know that I am looking at them as an individual. I’m focussed on what their needs are and how I can put the support in place that they’re eligible to receive. They can trust that they can call me or the nurses and therapists or whoever is involved in their care and we will be communicating with one another to help them.
I am so grateful to work on Short Stay and to follow my patients through their journey. I’m very fortunate that I see the meaning in the role that I’ve chosen.