RN, BSN, ET
It was with the greatest pleasure and honour that I came to work with Andy and her great team at the Ostomy Care Center many years ago. One of the many reasons why I still find it amazing to work at the Centre is that our team also includes the hundreds of incredible people who I get to work with who are living with their ostomies!
I graduated from the U.B.C. School of Nursing in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and since then, I have been blessed with having worked in a wide range of settings throughout my career. This includes spending years in community nursing as well as acute care at Chilliwack General Hospital, Vancouver Hospital and more recently St.Paul’s Hospital as part of the Ostomy Team. I have also taught in both the clinical and classroom setting and had the opportunity to work as a traveling wound care consultant for people with spinal cord injuries in a unique pressure ulcer treatment and prevention project for WorkSafe BC.
In 2004, I completed the year long International Interdisciplinary Wound Care Course from the University of Toronto, which was a focused curriculum on advanced wound management. During that time I developed and carried out the wound care program for North Shore Home Health Nursing. It was fantastic to have carte blanche and create the program, and I learned very quickly that one of my greatest pleasures and strengths is teaching staff and patients, as well as a passion for changing practice to promote optimal patient care. In early 2009, I continued to expand my nursing specialty by adding ostomy care to my education after attending Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.
On a more personal note, though my first exposures to ostomy care were indeed through my nursing career, I also had the profound experience when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and ended up with a colostomy quite unexpectedly. I had the opportunity to walk side by side with her on her journey with the ostomy as well as the cancer. She showed me the power of perseverance to carry on despite the change to her body as the ostomy became the “new normal” for her.
It was mom’s ostomy nurse at the hospital however who had the biggest impact on both mine and my mother’s life during those last 2 years. Without her, mom‘s experience would have been a very bumpy road both physically and emotionally. Through the relationship they had, I learned early on that the ET nurse is so much more than an just a clinical resource in this role. Instead, ET nurses are privileged to enter the private lives and personal journey’s of amazing people who are facing a very scary time with their new ostomy, often wondering how they will ever be able to “do this” and continue to live life at the same time. There are many tears, laughs, hugs and always an open door and open ears. Thinking back, mom’s ostomy nurse left a greater impression on me than I realize and on some level has guided me along the path to where my career has developed today.
Now that I have worked in hospital, homecare and classroom settings as well as my personal journey, I feel confident to say that ostomy is my true niche and I KNOW that this is where I belong. Few people can say that they truly love going to work and feel like each day is a day that they were able to make a difference. I look forward to meeting you, traveling with you on your journey and hope I can live up to the impression that the ostomy nurse left on my mother’s life and mine.