Story and Photo by Donna Faye
Nursing is an art and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts. I had almost said the finest of Fine Arts.
– Florence Nightingale
During National Nursing Week, celebrated each year alongside Florence Nightingale’s birthday on May 12, we recognize the dedicated men and women who practice the fine art of nursing at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC).
“I like people and hearing people’s stories and working in mental health allows me to hear people’s stories,” says registered nurse Erin Bergen. As clinical nurse specialist in mental health programs, Bergen is responsible for the education of staff, ensuring they are aware of current research as well as changes in practice and policy.
Although she doesn’t often work directly with patients in her current role, Bergen says patients are the focus of everything she does. “It’s rewarding to know that patients coming into our care will have the best possible outcomes because our staff are current and on their game.”
“I’ve made a lot of friends in nursing. It’s like a family,” says registered nurse Edie Hart. In her 21-year career, Hart has worked in paediatrics, paediatric intensive care, and the intensive care unit. She is currently the clinical lead for the regional critical care response program, which aims to provide 24/7 critical care services to regional hospitals through videoconferencing.
What is most rewarding about nursing, Hart says, is the interaction with patients and family members. “You see people at their worst and then you see them get better and go home, knowing you made a difference.”
“Sometimes I run into former patients and they say ‘I’ve always remembered you,’” says Michael Hogard. Hogard is a registered practical nurse in TBRHSC’s emergency department, the second busiest in Canada. “In the emergency department, we’re the first line, so we see people at their sickest. It’s rewarding to be part of their care team and watch them get better.”
The 12-year veteran of the profession says he always knew he wanted to be a nurse. “I remember, as a kid, visiting people in hospital with my family or visiting family members in hospital and seeing what nurses do. It’s something I always wanted to do.”