January 14, 2015…
I’ve been nursing a long time – 40 years this year! I can’t believe this, as I’m saying it! I graduated from St. Clare’s School of Nursing in 1975, and have thoroughly enjoyed my years as a registered nurse (RN).
I started out working at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital on 6 East (surgery), and then moved to St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, where I worked part-time for 10 years when my children were small. I enjoyed working and socializing with the senior residents – I even danced with some of them!
I went to Palliative Care from there, when it was located here at St. Clare’s. A most rewarding – but challenging – job at times. I worked there for seven years… I loved it and learned a lot.
Finally, I took a permanent full-time position here on 7 West, the Medicine Floor, where I’m completing my final working shifts! I’ve been here since 1998 –17 years! It’s the great staff here that has helped to keep me here.
Throughout my career, I have worked with a lot of great and interesting people. And during that time, I have come to know a few things – things I want to pass on to the younger nurses who are just starting their careers:
- Be pleasant and positive.
- Have patience.
- Work hard and treat your patients, family members and co-workers with respect.
- Come to work with a smile. It does wonders for you – and most importantly, you get positive feedback from your patients. They notice!
Working as a nurse certainly has its challenges. There’s always more education along the way, and the need to keep up with new policies and procedures. Going from team nursing to our new Acute Model of Nursing Care is an example.
7 West was the first area to implement this change, which basically means that individual nurses take more responsibility for their own patients. There are times we still need teamwork to complete tasks here on 7 West – but the new model helps us to be more accountable to those we care for.
I do believe in being responsible for your own patients. Patient care is what drew me to nursing in the first place – and that’s one thing that hasn’t changed in 40 years!
And some things have come full circle! I started out wearing a white uniform, as all nurses did back then. Now we’re back to white, with black pants, of course. There’s something nice about that, and a lot of patients have commented on how much they like it – being able to distinguish RNs from other professional health care workers.
I am so excited to finally retire on February 28, 2015.
And what makes it ‘doubly’ rewarding is that my twin sister Anne Brophy, also a nurse, is retiring too! We went through nursing school together, graduated together – and now we are retiring together.
Between us, we’ve given 80 years of combined service to health care!
Anne’s looking forward to this new chapter in her life, too, especially to spending more time with her four grandchildren – but finds it hard to believe it’s time for retirement after all these years. Like me, she graduated from St. Clare’s School of Nursing and began her career at St. Clare’s. At one point, she left the city environment, working at a clinic in Ferryland where she says: “I was a secretary, pharmacist and RN all in one!”
In the mid-90s, she headed to Eastern Health’s long-term care program – and stayed. She’ll retire from the new long-term care facility in St. John’s the same day I leave St. Clare’s!
Anne has seen a lot of changes and challenges in long-term care over the years. Being in charge of nursing units has been a great learning experience for her.
Although my sister and I worked in different areas for most of our careers, we were both fortunate to work with those we enjoyed and respected.
Anne says: “I will miss the great staff who have treated our residents as though they were their own families, crying and laughing with them as well as singing and dancing! I’ve met such a variety of residents over the years – and it has been a great joy.”
To sum up, I have so much to look forward to – spending time with my family and my two grandchildren. I’m so grateful to have had their support these past years and fortunate to have been healthy enough to enjoy my nursing career. Shift work isn’t always easy.
But now, I’m so looking forward to charting the next ‘extended shift’ of my life…
…and getting ready to sign out for the last time!
Dianne Boland, RN. ■
This story was written by Dianne Boland, an acute care nurse at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s.