I followed in my mother’s footsteps when I decided to go into nursing. Healthcare is such a big and important component in our lives, especially the ways in which we access it. Equity and equitable access to healthcare for everyone is incredibly important to me.
There’s a real art to nursing and understanding the person who is the patient. People are most vulnerable when it comes to their health and their care needs. Nursing requires offering reassurance. You have to connect with them to establish a therapeutic relationship. It goes beyond just having their care needs met. It can have an impact on how they feel about themselves.
I work on the Wellington East team at the WWLHIN. Before coming here, I worked at St. Michael’s hospital in downtown Toronto, as well as the Mississauga Halton LHIN. It’s a more intimate setting in some ways here. I often see and interact with the people I serve, even when I’m not at work.
Working in a region like Wellington, the issues of equitable access really come into focus for me. I want to provide my patients with the same type of care, whether they live in rural Wellington or in the city of Guelph. There are factors that can make it more difficult, so it’s important that we put safeguards in place to serve those patients. I describe it like this – it’s not just giving everyone the same size of shoe, but ensuring the size of shoe they have fits.
It always helps to remember the whole person when you’re providing care. Sometimes that means looking at the patient as an individual but also taking into consideration their family and caregivers. Family and caregivers are an extension of the healthcare system.
You have to remember that for each patient, the service you provide can make all the difference. I once received a letter from a patient after they were discharged that really stuck with me. She shared a story about a father and a son walking along the beach. The beach was filled with starfish. The dad stopped and tossed as many as he could back into the ocean. The son asked the father, “Dad, what difference does it make? There are just so many of them?” And the father answered, “You may look at it that way, but to that one starfish it meant all the difference.”
I’m excited to be working in this area and with the models we’re incorporating in our care. In rural Wellington, we’re using a model that lets us follow our clients if they have to go into the hospital. Normally you have a community care coordinator and a hospital care coordinator that takes over when they go into the hospital. Instead, we’re looking at a continuum of care where we follow patients from the community into the hospital, and then back into the community. They feel like we are walking alongside them through their journey.
It’s a team effort – everyone is working together for the patient. When I’m informed that a patient has gone into the hospitable, I will go to rounds in the mornings on the units and speak with the physicians. As a result, we’re all working to establish a unified care team and keep each other in the loop.
I’ve been at the WWLHIN since early January, and it has been a great experience. From the start, I was inspired by the WWLHIN’s motto – “Healthy people, thriving communities, bright futures”. I think they’re all connected, and they all overlap. Without proper healthcare and equitable access, you can’t achieve thriving communities, especially when we’re always looking to the future of healthcare.
Healthcare is dynamic. It’s constantly changing. It’s innovative. And, it’s challenging. The challenge to always try to do better motivates me. The system itself is trying to make itself better and more efficient. It’s an exciting place to be.