I got my bachelor of science in nursing at Ryerson University and initially worked on a general surgery ward. Then I moved on to critical care in the cardiac ICU.
I chose to go back to school to satisfy my intellectual curiosity and meet personal goals. Medical technology and know-how continue to evolve, and I believe that as health care leaders we should strive to provide optimal care.
The fact that I was teaching at the faculty of nursing at U of T as well meant I had the clinical as well as the educational experience I needed to get into the nurse practitioner program.
I went to U of T and received a masters in the field, a new credential that allowed me greater input into quality of care and the overall patient experience. The fact that a lot of my role is providing mentorship and participating in research means I'm also having an impact on the profession.
Returning to school confirmed my passion for nursing. With the extra training, I can prescribe medication, order laboratory tests and admit and discharge patients. The scope is much greater than that of an appointed-care or general-class nurse.
What's really empowering is seeing what I learned translate into clinical practice. I've also been given opportunities to speak at national and international conferences. My confidence in these activities comes from the skills I developed in the practitioner program.
The best nurse practitioners are critical thinkers, driven and self-directed individuals who have a desire to increase their knowledge.
Continuing education takes sacrifice, money and time, but if there's an end goal, it's all worth it.