Registered Nurse - Float
As a Registered Nurse (RN) float in Hay River, Barb is trained to work in the emergency department, acute care in-patient unit, dialysis, the endoscopy suite, paediatric dental surgery, and home care. Moving between units where she is needed most, it’s easy to imagine an RN float dashing between patients with a cape on her back; a superhero in scrubs. But for Barb, it’s just another shift.
Born and raised in Ontario, she attended Lakehead University for her Bachelor of Science and Nursing, with a Minor in Interdisciplinary Palliative Care. After spending time working rotations in rural communities in the greater Thunder Bay area, she moved onto the Stem Cell Transplant and Haematology Unit in Kingston, and then onto Emergency and ICU in Kitchener-Waterloo. In 2009 after hearing about the incredible opportunities in the Northwest Territories, Barb packed up and headed north, where she landed in Hay River. And since then, she has never looked back.
“I moved to Hay River planning to stay for two years, and here we are in 2020 and I have no plans to leave. There are always positives and negatives in every job, so you either love it or you move on… and obviously, I haven’t moved on.”
Over the years, Barb has held a number of positions in the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority (HRHSSA), but she always felt a calling to work in a clinical setting, where she could be hands-on and help as many patients as possible. As a float, she loves the opportunity for movement, mental stimulation, and problem-solving. In a 12 hour shift, she often finds herself bouncing between 2 -3 units. She has also been a mentor for new hires and graduates, and as a part of her mentorship, she has developed a teaching tool binder to better help newcomers settling into their roles. But the education and training isn’t just limited to orientation, Barb is also an avid learner and is always looking for new courses to continuously improve her skills.
“I like to dip my toes in every little pond.”
Beyond her university education, Barb has completed a number of courses and certifications including, but not limited to, the National Certification for Emergency Nursing; has sat on the NCLEX Review Board; and completed a certificate in Critical Care. In addition, she is also pursuing her Masters of Nursing through distance education.
“I like to have the mentality that, when you become a nurse your goal is to not only help your patients, but also to help other nurses grow. So if I can help myself to be better, while also helping them, then I feel like I’ve succeeded.”
Barb says that her love of continued learning and mentorship has been something she always valued, and shares this with her colleagues and children.
“I tell my kids that you always need to help others, and must always try your best.”
With Hay River being a small community, Barb also knows the power of community connection and the impact that nurses and the healthcare system can have on its community members.
“I have loved working here and being able to know the community and their needs. Whether it’s the best day of their life and they’re delivering their child, or the worst day and they’ve just lost a family member, I feel privileged as a nurse to be present with them during those moments.”
“Yes, sometimes the work can be stressful and has an impact on how you’re feeling, but it’s important to remember the impact your work has on your patients and their families. Your patients will always remember how you treated them.”
She has loved working with the Hay River team, and values the dedicated work of her colleagues, and the many opportunities to have fun. Whether it’s a staff potluck to celebrate a birthday, bonding with her management team and colleagues, or being out in the community enjoying the many activities, festivals and gatherings, Barb says Hay River is an incredible place to live and grow.
Looking ahead to the future, Barb hopes to explore opportunities in Air Medical Services and travel clinics across the beautiful Northwest Territories.