For some, it’s a challenge to find a career they love. For this Northern Health employee, the challenge is non-existent as she does what she loves.
TalentEgg spoke with Richelle, a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) at Northern Health, to gain insight on the unique and rewarding experiences that come with working in the healthcare profession, and to learn more about what a day in the life of an LPN at Northern Health is really like.
Richelle’s career has led her full circle — to return to where her heart is! She currently works at Rotary Manor, a long-term care facility in Dawson Creek, British Columbia — the same facility that saw the start of her healthcare career. After graduating from Northern Lights College’s LPN (Licensed Practical Nursing) program, Richelle spent two years working at Rotary Manor as an LPN before she took two years off of nursing to work in the oil patch.
While the money was good — good enough to purchase her first home at a very young age, she adds — her heart wasn’t in it. After doing some travelling, Richelle came to a realization. “It’s not all about making the big money, it’s about doing the stuff that means the most,” she says, and so she returned to her nursing career as soon as she came back from her travels.
Richelle’s job means a lot to her, not just because she loves what she does, but because a personal connection to the healthcare sector was a key factor in Richelle’s decision to pursue nursing in the first place. She always had a strong bond with her grandmother, who had worked as a care aide, and wanted to follow in her footsteps. She adds that her uncle, who is handicapped, has required an increased amount of medical assistance in the past few years, making her realize the important role that healthcare professionals play in our lives. “That really drives me to do well in my career,” she says.
“I like to do the little things for people that make them feel cared for,” Richelle says, sharing that her favourite thing about her job is simply making people happy.
That starts with conducting her day-to-day responsibilities in the best way she can — and a day in the life of an LPN is nothing short of action-packed. Her day starts with a verbal update from the other nurses on shift, followed by a review of a written report with the care aide on duty. After that, she conducts a narcotic count. If she’s working a day shift, she then starts distributing morning medications to go with patients’ breakfasts.
After breakfast, when the charge nurses and doctors do rounds, is when she does assessments for patients, which includes taking their vitals and filling in their charts. When lunchtime hits, there’s another round of medication distribution, followed by some patient downtime. It’s during this time that she gets to assist patients with their personal needs. And after all that, she completes a report of her own. “It’s a very humbling job,” Richelle says. “It makes you realize what you have.”
Richelle’s tips for career success at Northern Health:
1. Be patient. The confidence, skills, and job stability will come with time! Putting in the hours is worth it.
2. Take good care of yourself. It’s a rewarding job, but also a demanding job. Make sure you get proper rest and take time to reset whenever you feel pressured or stressed.
3. Keep a journal. If you felt like you did something really good at work (or even if something didn’t go so well), it’s a good idea to write it down. It’s a great way to track of your career journey, channel your emotions, and relieve stress.
If you’re like Richelle, you’ll thrive in the collaborative work environment at Northern Health. “I like to hear other people’s perspectives on things,” she says. “There’s a lot of people that have a lot more experience than me, and they might have a different [view] on something.”
Through on-the-job learning opportunities, training, and LPN Learning Days at Northern Health, Richelle says she’s developed a repertoire of job-specific and soft skills. She’s had the opportunity to learn about specific approaches for treating patients with dementia, and pain management for palliative care patients — which she says is a constant (and highly important) learning experience.
In addition, Richelle adds that her role at Northern Health has made her a much better problem-solver and conflict mediator. “I’m more confident in my own abilities to give direction and be a better leader,” she says.
In the future, Richelle hopes to go back to school to get her registered nursing degree. In the meantime, she’s happy to be spending her days as an LPN at Rotary Manor.
“It’s a very rewarding job,” says Richelle. “I can’t say that enough.”