I work in the emergency department full-time at Sunnybrook and also teach in Humber's emergency nursing and cardiology program.
My responsibilities include clinically evaluating our patients' stability, making sure they remain stable and ensuring they have a family-centred experience. Inter-professional collaboration is important: not only do we work with other nurses, but with other health care professionals, too, to ensure we have positive client outcomes.
We're a trauma centre, so Sunnybrook nurses are different than other emerg nurses because our patients are very high-acuity. We have increased skills in terms of being able to monitor cardiac, stroke and trauma patients and predict a trajectory knowing what clinical assessments to perform and treatments to administer.
I went to Ryerson and completed my bachelor of science in nursing there. After that, I completed my masters in nursing, health policy and education at Ryerson University as well.
When I started at Sunnybrook, I was part of the acute care resource team. I enjoyed working with high-acuity patients, and after doing a few shifts in the emergency department I realized this is the place for me. As part of being hired here, employees go into a sponsorship program with Humber College. All the new hires were enrolled in the emergency nursing certificate program, which lasted four or five months. That was such an engaging and positive experience.
There was a theoretical and a clinical practice component. We learned real-world applications through critical case study. We worked with paramedics to see what they did, and afterwards our professor pretended to be a triage nurse while we clinically evaluated a situation based on the paramedics' report.
The program also sparked my love of teaching and education. My professor became my mentor. I realized that continuing education is important for remaining competent in the field. After taking that program, I completed my teaching effectiveness certificate at Humber College as well.
I love it when I'm able to clinically evaluate patients' situations. When they come in, they have no diagnosis, but you have a bunch of clinical clues. It's really different from when they arrive at another part of the hospital. I enjoy putting together that information and coming up with a clear picture of what's happening, and from there taking leadership to facilitate the medical team.
In emerg nursing you have to have strong assessment skills and must find the strength to advocate for a patient to make sure they get the best care.
You have to be an excellent communicator. You need to be outgoing. You must be willing to deal with chaos. You have to be non-judgmental about religion, culture, gender, language - everything - because if you aren't, you can prevent that person from accessing health care in the future.
I'm not gonna lie: we love getting super-critical patients. Emerg nurses are totally like, "Bring. It. On. We've got this. We know everything about hemodynamic stability. Bring on your toughest sepsis case. A sick patient is well in our hands."