With a range of healthcare career opportunities, the CCAC offers unique potential to those planning, or beginning, their professional journey.
Just ask Amy Robinson, a Nurse Practitioner with the CCAC.
After completing a nursing degree at Lakehead University, and graduating from McMaster’s Nurse Practitioner program in 2013, Amy took some time assessing her previous work experience and key skills before planning her next move.
She quickly recognized how much the CCAC had to offer.
With previous experience in oncology and palliative care, Amy was drawn to explore more hands-on opportunities to connect with patients.
“The opportunity to do home visits was really appealing to me. It presents a unique way to do nursing,” says Amy. “I like being able to engage with people in their homes and be invited into the personal side of their lives that I wouldn’t otherwise see in a clinical setting.”
Ready to build the skills for career success, she also saw real potential to learn and grow.
“The CCAC is a great place to build your career.”
Nurse Practitioner, Central West CCAC
“I had also heard that the CCAC provides many learning opportunities and I thought this would be a great way to embrace my role as a Nurse Practitioner,” she says.
Amy joined the CCAC in November of 2013 as a Nurse Practitioner in the Advanced Practice Nurse Palliative Care Program – a unique initiative that began several years ago.
“These people are facing life-limiting challenges, and the program goal is to support them, and their families, to live at home for as long as possible,” explains Amy.
“Our support comes in many forms – we connect with their family doctors and support the patient’s relationship with them, and we aid with access to community healthcare providers.”
On an ordinary day, Amy receives referrals from her CCAC Care Coordinator colleagues or hospital staff and connects with people which she knows suit the program’s scope and focus can help.
“I introduce the program to them and I get to know a bit about them as a person before conducting any assessment,” says Amy. “When I do the assessment, I make a diagnosis and set them up with the appropriate resources to better manage their symptoms.”
She also conducts follow-ups with patients to make sure that existing resources are meeting their needs, identifying opportunities to provide more effective support.
The right focus
Working in the community is a natural fit for Amy’s passion for palliative care.
“It’s a very specific philosophy of care,” Amy says. “It addresses a person’s emotional health, spiritual health and well-being. This philosophy of care guides me in my every action with every client.”
The CCAC Palliative Care model works on a team-based approach, ensuring people are well-supported, by bringing together diverse parties including family doctors, palliative care physicians, other CCAC team members and more.
“As a Nurse Practitioner, my expertise is general, so other healthcare practitioners bring their own skills and experience to the table and together we are able to provide an expert approach to care,” Amy says. “My role is to promote communication and make sure we are providing a whole suite of skills, with a team of people, offering a holistic focus to patient care.”
A commitment to learning
The potential for learning and growth played a big part in attracting Amy to the CCAC, and she’s thrilled with the support she’s received.
“My organization is always offering educational opportunities – conferences, lunch and learn sessions and by connects us with journal articles and electronic resources,” Amy says. “I feel confident that my CCAC supports me building my knowledge base so I can bring greater expertise to those I help, as well as their families.”
That’s not all. This fall, Amy will begin a graduate diploma in oncology and palliative care at Windsor University – with support from the CCAC.
“Starting my career at the CCAC was ideal for me because of the amazing amount of support and guidance I’ve received from my colleagues and managers,” Amy says. “That’s important for anybody starting a career in the healthcare field.”
One of the most stimulating learning experiences of Amy’s career so far has been the ongoing opportunity to help others learn about the Advanced Practice Nurse Palliative Care Program.
“We go and visit family health teams in the community, and give presentations to let the people how we can support people in need of palliative care resources,” she explains. “Most people want to spend their final days in their home, not a hospital, and I am lucky to be part of the team who can make this happen for people.”
Amy’s feedback and input are an active component of the program development, an experience she wouldn’t find in a more traditional role.
“I’ve never been part of something new like this and I have the opportunity to contribute my own thoughts, experience and ideas,” she says. “With so many connections to the health care community and the many partnerships the CCAC has, I’ve definitely honed my networking and marketing skills.”
Building to succeed
Amy found a unique role that fit her healthcare background – but that’s only part of what makes her career at the CCAC so special.
“I feel proud to be part of such a knowledgeable and well-respected team,” she says. “The CCAC has a great reputation of being pioneers in palliative care.”
“I’m part of a team that strives to make a difference in people’s lives at the end of their journey. It’s a true privilege to be a part of that time.”
It’s a unique combination of opportunity, support and positive contribution.
“There are always learning opportunities, everyone is welcoming and supportive and it’s a fantastic place to work,” Amy says. “The CCAC is a great place to build your career.”