Registered Nurse – Operating Room/Post-Anaesthesia Recovery Room (OR/PARR) Yellowknife
Growing up between Canada and the Bahamas, Tsia has practiced as a Registered Nurse (RN) in both countries, gathering a wealth of knowledge and experiences along the way. With previous work experience in Ontario and Manitoba, Tsia felt that she was looking for a change in her career applied on a one-year contract in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.
Tsia says her previous exposure to the cold weather in Winnipeg prepared her for a Yellowknife winter and she felt confident that she would enjoy her experience. Five years later, Tsia is now a senior OR/PARR nurse within Stanton Territorial Hospital and is thrilled that she chose to move to the north.
“It’s been a long-time dream to work in the north. I told my mom I was moving to Yellowknife and her first response was, ‘where the heck is Yellowknife?’. I said, ‘Mom don’t worry, I Googled it – if 20,000 other people can live in Yellowknife, I think I can handle it too! They have a Walmart, a McDonald’s, and a movie theatre, I will be fine!’.”
For Tsia, one of the rewarding parts of working as an OR/PARR is the ability to see a patient through the surgery process, from beginning to end. Not only does it give her valuable knowledge on patient history, procedures and recovery, it also helps to build a bond with patients.
“The task of building relationships with patients is soul satisfying, because you need to approach them with compassion and empathy. And it’s also important to remind the patient that you’re there to help them through this. You have to say ‘I know that this is hard, but you’ve done the work to get here. You and I are in this together, and I can’t do my job without you.’ By saying this it reminds patients that they have more strength than they think they have, and builds their confidence in the pre-operative stage.
“When patients wake up and they see the same face they met when they arrived, it gives them a sense of continuity and reassurance. Even if a patient comes into the hospital by themselves, it reminds them that they’re not here alone. It’s important to let the patients know that you’re there for them to support them, hold their hand, and that you’re going to take care of them. No matter what age of the life cycle, it’s important to create a bond and trust with your patients.”
The team environment at Stanton is also a favourite part of Tsia’s job. Each day, members of the team are assigned to different services, taking into account each nurse’s skill levels, expertise, and training. Though surgery can be busy and emergencies do arise, there is still a strong sense of control, organization, and delegation amongst the team members, creating a collaborative and successful team dynamic. This approach also allows nurses to expand their scope of practice.
“Working at Stanton is fabulous and I’m so happy to be part of this team. One of my colleagues always says that ‘everybody here has their own gifts and talents, and they are spectacular in the roles that they do.’ We have many nurses that know absolutely everything there is to know about their services and you can go to them feeling assured that they have the answer to your questions.”
Tsia speaks fondly of her colleagues, and says she appreciates being in the presence of other wonderful nurses every day that love the work they do, and the positive impact that this has on the patients.
Compared to working in other regions of Canada, Tsia says that RN’s in the Northwest Territories have a much broader scope of practice and responsibility, which enhances their skill sets, confidence, and the function of the operating room. She has also loved being immersed in the community here, learning about the people, history, and culture.
“One of my most valuable experiences has been moving here and learning about the many different communities, cultures, and people. There is a lot of cultural diversity and you are able to learn a lot from your patients every day. By absorbing this information first-hand it helps you to better serve them. Being knowledgeable on these subjects is so important, and is a thrilling part of my job.”
Another aspect of northern life that appeals to Tsia is the relaxed pace that many people in the NWT have.
“Everyone seems to be a little more relaxed here and it has given me a new perspective. I used to be a person who would get stressed and overwork myself living up to deadlines, but now I realize that it’s okay to slow down.”
Tsia has also been able to enjoy many experiences outside of work, exploring Yellowknife and taking in community festivals.
Thank you to Tsia for sharing her experiences and stories with us! If you’d like to learn more about career opportunities as a Registered Nurse in the Northwest Territories, visit our HSS Careers tab.