[Farwa, the alumni, fellows, and career exploration coordinator, starts the session. She can be seen in full screen]
Hi everyone, thank you so much for joining today's career spotlight session. On behalf of Calumet and Stong Colleges and the Faculty of Health, thank you for joining today's career spotlight session and
hope you're all having a good reading week and thank you so much for giving us your time during your relaxation time as well. My name is Farwa Arshad, I am the alumni, fellows, and career exploration coordinator with the Calumet and Stong Colleges. Please note that this session will be recorded and if you have any questions, please feel free to post them in the chat, or if you would want to please feel free to unmute yourself and ask them to Angelina directly. So, let's get started. Today we have the guest, Angelina Batac. Thank you so much for joining us Angelina. How are you doing today?
[Angeline, the guest, responds to Farwa’s question. She can be seen in full screen]
I'm good, how are you? thank you for having me.
[Farwa introduces Angelina, and follows by the first question of the session]
I'm good too. I'm glad to hear that. So let's get started with the brief introduction of Angelina. Angelina is a Faculty of Health alumni and newly Registered Nurse who graduated from York University's Collaborative Nursing Program with Georgian College. Prior to starting her nursing career, she was the President and Co-Founder of the student club Nursing Student Tutoring, Ambassadorship & Mentorship Programs (NSTAMP). She also had the opportunity to hold various different leadership roles at Calumet and Stong College which helped her build skills that she uses everyday as a nurse. Currently, she is employed at Mackenzie Health Richmond Hill and Cortellucci Vaughn Hospital as a part of their Nursing Resource Team (Float). She has had experience on a variety of different types of units including the Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department, Surgery, Telemetry, Pediatrics, Long Term Care, Rehabilitation and more. So that's a very impressive portfolio of skills Angelina. And again on behalf of yourself and the colleges thank you for joining us here today. So yeah just to start, Angelina can you tell us a little bit more about your career and leadership journey from your undergraduate career to where you are right now?
All right so my career in the nursing field is relatively new, so I finished my NCLEX around September, and I got a job in November and I finished my orientation near the end of November. So, I've only been alone for probably like two and a half months but so far it's been going really well.
[Farwa responds with another question]
Great to hear that, and I want to ask were there any significant life events or mentors that influence your choice to become a nurse?
I've always been interested in the healthcare field. When I was younger, I started off as a lifeguard and I actually thought I wanted to be a paramedic, so learning how to save people and help them out in that situation. I wanted to learn more on how I could help people. So I actually went into pre-health sciences and then I figured out that I wanted to go in the nursing field, and I did my pre-health sciences at Georgian College where I was able to get into their nursing program, and then I got to finish at York University.
[Farwa asks another question]
Okay thank you, and could you describe more about your leadership journey from your undergraduate career?
My leadership journey mostly started at York University. I started off as a course representative in my third year, so going through my emails in the summer I just saw the opportunity to join the Calumet and Stong Colleges team, so I started off as a course representative and getting involved in that way. I was able to attend more events, meet more people in the office, and that was a way for me to network as well, and I got to learn more about what Calumet and Stong Colleges does, and more about the programs and how I could get more involved. So I highly recommend if you're looking to get into more leadership roles or work study positions, even just attending events that are held by Calumet and Stong Colleges is a good idea.
[Farwa responds, and follows up with a question]
Definitely, I agree too, and your bio mentions that you co-founded NSTAMP, so how was your experience being a co-founding of a big club like that with a really great purpose and how was it like being president? How did you manage your work life/ school life balance?
So starting off, NSTAMP was a bit tricky. So the background history of NSTAMP: we were actually a subcommittee of the nursing student association at York which is another club. We decided to part ways because of the different roles that we hold and the purpose whereas NSAY, I believe, is more advocacy and event purposes, whereas NSTAMP is more academic. So me and my team were able to come up with a new name, a new logo, we came up with a new constitution, more events, different programs, and we were able to be successful in creating a new club. Balancing work life/study life and going to school, it was pretty tricky, but having a good support system and knowing how to ask people for help, and time management is really important.
[Farwa asks another question]
I agree, and thank you. So going in the direction of your career right now, Cortellucci is a relatively new hospital, so as a new graduate yourself what has been your experience working at a newly established hospital?
So I've only had orientation at the Cortellucci Vaughn Hospital. So they just opened up, I believe like the first or second week of February, and they only have certain units open, but it's the first smart hospital in Canada. Everything's technology-based. All the equipment is new, it's very nice hospital, they even have tubing systems on every single floor. So if you need a drug from pharmacy, they just shoot it up through a tube, if you have a lab descend just send it through a tube. It's just very efficient. Each patient has their own private room, they have a Hoyer lift that brings you to like the washroom, so they've really thought out how to make it very patient-centered. So it's a very nice hospital, nice view, but I haven't got the chance to work there yet, so I feel like there will be a few hiccups, but I'll learn how to work with it.
[Farwa follows up and says]
That sounds so cool, and tell us about a little bit about your experience in different hospital units, so you mentioned that you worked in pediatrics rehabilitation, so as a new graduate, also how did you gain such a variety of experiences?
So being NRT, you basically work on the hospital's needs, so whether someone calls in or they just need extra stuff, because of how many patients they have on a unit. But from my practicums, I see someone wants to know a bit about my practicum. I started off as long-term care, working with the geriatrics it was a medical complex care and then moving forward with that, I went into surgery for my practicum, so seeing a bit more about post-op and pre-op, and how to manage pain with patients, and then moving forward from that I went into cardiology, So being able to look at the ECG leads, reading the strips, and working with the nurses, that way was very fun. Then I went into pediatrics so a lot of IV medications, dosage calculations based on weight, and it's a different approach to working with children rather than working with an adult, and then after that I had my community placement. So I was at an elementary school, so I was at father John Kelly in Vaughan, and then I went to ICU for my practicum. So I was able to see a lot of different situations there, but working as a float nurse you're able to go to a ton of these different floors and you see a lot of new things, you learn a lot of different things, and you have the opportunity to see where you like to work. If you're not really sure about where you'd like to end up working, I'd highly recommend doing float for at least six months to a year, and then you can find out what you want to do.
Have you found out what you want to do? what area or what unit have you really enjoyed?
0:08:38.560 , 0:10:11.920
So far I enjoy doing the float, I did the ICU for consolidation, so only having like one to two patients a shift, it's a big change from now where you can have up to six to seven, but day shifts usually five patients and then nights is up to six, but if you're short staff sometimes you have to pick up an extra patient or two. So I enjoy doing the float right now, just I want to learn more about time management, prioritization, and I feel that learning all these different things, seeing a lot of new things, will prepare me for going into the ICU. I really enjoy having one to two patients, you really get to know them, you can focus on them, give them care, but I know if you like the one to two ratio as well you, have there's like the labor and delivery floor but keep in mind you have the mother and the baby, so it's technically up to four patients, or if they have twins five. So it really depends on like what you like to do. I never got to go on to a labor and delivery floor, but from my friend's experience, she really liked it and now she's working at Mount Sinai in the labor and delivery floor. So keep in mind there's additional courses for the specialty floors, but a lot of places give out, I forget what they're called, I think they're called scholarships or grants, and they'll actually pay for the course and they'll pay you to go to school, so if that's something you're interested in just look into your hospitals. It's different for each organization but it's a good idea to look into what there is to offer to you.
[Farwa responds and asks]
Are there any that you're considering taking right now? Any of those specialty courses?
I feel like since I go onto the telemetry floor a lot reading strips, I did my ACLS which is the advanced cardiac life support course, so I'm able to read the strips but you need CC1 or CC2 on a lot of these telemetry floors. So, in order to be competent, I feel like I should be going into one of those courses, and I should also be renewing my ACLS. So far those are the courses I'm considering. I know there is a lot of people if you want to go into like the OR, there's OR courses at like Durham College, Centennial, George Brown, there's a lot of different courses offered to nursing.
Yeah thank you, and I wanted to ask in terms of the pandemic, you finished school and you got a job all during the pandemic, so what does your typical day look like right now?
[Angelina asks for clarification]
My typical day at like at work?
Okay so the difference from my previous practicums and now is I'd say the kind of PPE you're wearing, like you wear a face shield all the time, and you don't change your mask, so that was something that I had to get used to. I find it really hard to see with the face shield, but I've gotten past that, but from a day-to-day basis nothing has really changed like I've always washed my hands, I always clean my work area, I don't eat on the unit, and I think it's just the social distancing and the PPE that you have to wear and a lot of anxiety within different staff members with COVID. There's been times where people have refused to go in like a hallway because there's COVID patients and it's hard to work that way, but yeah it hasn't been too different.
[Farwa asks a follow-up question]
Thank you and I had a follow-up question: you did graduate during when the pandemic started right? Can you tell us a little bit more about how you network in a remote environment basically and how is the application process like?
So the best way for me to network online was to attend events like this and also joining LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn is a great way to find a career or a job, they post job postings and employers are actually searching so there's a lot of inboxes that I have that are like come work for us, there's a contract signing bonus, there's a lot of travel nursing opportunities, about a lot of offers for the UK and the States but I don't think I want to do that I'm happy with my position right now, but if that's something that interests you, you really want to go into travel nursing, I'd suggest going on to LinkedIn searching, and you might even get reached out too. Just make sure that your profile has a lot of information and that's intriguing so that way the employer will want to inbox you.
[Farwa thanks Angelina]
Yes, definitely. Yeah, thank you.
[Bayley, the Student Success Coordinator, asks Angelina a question]
Can I ask the question? So Angelina I very distinctly remember us like sitting in Agata's office having a conversation like at the very beginning of the pandemic and talking about, you know, what this means and especially for nursing students. So I'm wondering like did you have any apprehension about either going into your placement or starting to work as a nurse during the pandemic, given it puts you at a higher risk of contracting COVID? What it's like to care for COVID patients? What was your thought process there?
[Angelina responds to Bayley’s question and says]
So being on the ICU, I was actually exposed, like I wasn't exposed, but like I was on the floor and there was COVID patients already so by the time they pulled out all the students I've already been working with people that have been caring for them. So the rule that they had was the student nurses couldn't work with the COVID, but just being around that already I wasn't very scared or worried. However, in the summer when it started to get a lot worse, I was getting concerned especially with the news mentioning shortages in PPE and all that and everyone like raiding the grocery stores was pretty scary, but after I finished my NCLEX I figured now's the time for me to work. I did not want to lose any knowledge or skills that I had built over my consolidation and I think having that had a pretty big break, I had like five six months before I started working again, so I was kind of apprehensive to work, but I also made it as an excuse that I needed to rest because I was in school.
[Farwa asks follows up with another question]
And how did you kind of reconcile I guess that apprehension? Like did you talk to your employer about what safety measures are in place? Did you talk to family members? Was it through self-reflection? Like how did you navigate that part?
I had a lot of friends that were already working in the healthcare field, like they finished their NCLEX two months after graduating, and they got a job right away and they're saying how "you have your PPE, just don’t touch your face, wash your hands, social distance and you won't get it". So, I'm just talking to people that were actually working in the field and getting their opinion of how safe it was. That's kind of something that helped me get over my anxiety.
Thanks Angelina, I appreciate you sharing that with us.
[Bayley asks Angelina another question]
Another question I have I guess I'm really like interested in the COVID aspect, because as a frontline worker you've been there, there's been times over the past few months where there's been concern in the news from our politicians and healthcare workers that there's like a shortage of ICU beds, and we've seen you know elective surgeries and other things get cancelled. Did you ever see that where you were that there was that, I guess that fear of the shortage of having the resources to look after COVID patients?
Sorry you froze can you repeat the last part?
[Bayley repeats her previous question]
I was just asking if, you know, like we saw a lot in the news about them talking about like the potential for there to be shortages right, when it comes to ICU beds and ventilators and stuff like that. As a nurse working in a hospital did you ever see, or I guess what was the effect of some of that concern that you may have seen in the hospital?
So I didn't see any concern for in terms of ICU beds, and I know in other hospitals they might have like a limited amount of airborne rooms so that would bring a lot of concern but the only thing that we had was we had one unit in the basement and it was kind of like an overflow. It was like a surge floor, so any patients that were relatively stable or ready to go home, we'd send them there, and it was managed by the nursing resource team, so all the float nurses. So in terms of shortages, we had resources and we were able to open like another floor and manage the amount of beds that we needed for our capacity, but it can get overwhelming I'm sure with other hospitals, especially because I feel like downtown is a lot worse compared to the York Region. So I'm really not too sure about Toronto.
[In response to a student’s question/comment in the chat box, Angelina says]
So shifts, shifts are long but you'll get used to it. I find that being on like medicine floors where you have five to six patients there's always something to do, so I feel like the time actually kind of flies by. Sometimes I'm like oh my gosh there's so much to do, and before you know it's already six o'clock, but I always show up early. Just make sure you show up early that way you're not all like stressed out showing up, you're able to research your patient, get a good report from the outgoing nurse and that way you feel really prepared for your shift. I'm always early knock on wood, just because I feel like I would be too stressed out and overwhelmed to like comprehend what's going on.
[Angelina says to the student who asked the previous question]
Have you worked consolidation yet? Are you a third-year student? Feel free to unmute yourself. Yes Orson. Or if anyone wants to answer like how are your practicums going?
[Angelina continues talking and says]
Okay yeah the shifts aren't too bad you get used to it, just make sure you have good shoes. Does anyone else have any questions?
[Bayley asks Angelina]
Are there 12-hour shifts all the time?
12 hours, but there's some units that do 8 hour shifts, but I find that there's so much to do in the day. You actually need like the extra four hours in order to like finish everything and leave on time. There's just a lot to do in a day but I mean if you go into like ICU or something you only have like one or two patients and they're really critical, and they're very unstable, but you'll be able to really focus on them and give them really good care.
Yeah, I see one student has raised their hand, let's like unmute yourself.
[A student asks Angelina a question]
Hi, I just have a quick question. I just wanted to know how was the interview process for the hospital that you that you're currently working at?
Yeah so I got a couple interviews. So I got interviewed at Markham Stouffville, South Lake, and Mackenzie Health, and the interview processes were relatively similar. Just be sure to know pathophysiology, so it's not like a regular interview where you're going to be asked about, you know, like leadership skills. They will ask about conflict resolution but they really want to know what you would do in a emergency setting, so being able to know like the nursing process like assess, diagnose, plan, intervention and evaluate. You really need to know how to present how you would manage a situation, so an example would be you have a hypoglycemic patient unresponsive, what would you do. So obviously you're not going to feed them by mouth, I said like you need to check their pulse because if they're hypoglycemic they might go into like cardiac arrest or something, and then that way if they're a DNR you wouldn't start CPR, but if they're full code you'd have to start CPR but they have a pulse and you obviously give them dextrose or glucagon. So just knowing different diseases and different issues, and how to manage that and presenting it well.
So with the questions, sorry Damilola. Do you have another question?
No sorry I was saying thank you.
[Bayley asks Angelina a follow-up question]
Were the questions much more scenario based in the interview?
Very scenario based so like code blue, pick line, pulmonary embolisms, what else, stuff like that just different things but when you study for the NCLEX you'll be able to recognize different things, and just make sure to read the rationales if you buy the book.
[Farwa asks Angelina]
And were the interviews individual or were they group based?
They're individual. You'd sometimes have like two managers doing it at the same time, but I find like it was all through. I guess one thing that was different compared to a regular day compared to the pandemic is it was all online. So you did it over like Microsoft teams or google meet and that's how you would do your interview, and I found that in my opinion less intimidating. There's a screen there, but I don't know it was very different.
[Farwa asks a follow-up question]
Yeah, sorry my throat. I wanted to ask do you find the job process competitive in any way?
Depending on what kind of floor you're going into or if it was like a permanent position. I found that there was a lot of opportunities for part-time or casual or even full-time temporary, but if you're looking for full-time permanent, I find that that's a bit competitive or tricky to find especially as a new graduate but considering that Mackenzie Health is looking for NRT, we're opening a new hospital, we need extra float nurses. Joining the nursing resource team I found was relatively easy and we're looking for nurses right now. So I feel like the process of getting a job also depends on like what organization you're going into, and what their needs are but I just know from the Richmond Hill Mackenzie Vaughn hospital is looking for more nurses, so I'm guaranteeing you that you will find a job.
[Farwa follows up with a student’s question]
Thank you there was a request. We have a question in the chat: so as a student did you work in any external positions, and if so what were your experiences like?
I actually had no external positions. I had no clinical experience other than my schooling. Yeah I didn't work as a PSW, I didn't work in any hospital but I did volunteer a lot. I had a lot of different leadership positions within the offices at Kelly Main Stong, so I just really focused on when presenting that I really focused on my practicums, and what kind of skills I did and just make sure you keep into contact with your preceptors, and that way they can give you a good reference review, and they can really vouch for you to get that position. In my opinion you do not need clinical experience to get a job in nursing right after school, because you get experience at school.
[Farwa asks another question]
Sorry about that. Thank you, and I want to go back to your previous answer and just quickly ask, was there, sorry about this. Sorry this last track of my thought process, I wanted to ask I'm not sure, I'm just going to move on the next question. I'll ask when I remember it. So talking about your leadership journey, were there any undergraduate skills that you used as a work/study student and as an NSTAMP president that were really valuable to you as your career nursing?
I'd say time management, time management and prioritization. So really knowing what needs to be done first and how you're going to move forward with achieving all your goals and your plans. So being able to organize yourself in that way I think is really important in your career or even in nursing or whatever you want to do in your life. Also teamwork, so you're going to be working with other nurses, doctors, dietitians, physiotherapy, there's a lot of people you have to talk to and work with, even at the work with the family members. So if there's any conflict that resides over you and those people, you need to know how to manage conflict, have the emotional intelligence to manage your own emotions.
So these are all things that I was able to build over my time at Calumet and Stong. Working with NSTAMP, being a work/study student, being a course rep, being able to just learn more about your own mental health, and being able to take care of yourself.
I think self-care is something I really got to learn, yeah and also advocacy, so you need to be able to advocate for yourself and your patient. So certain moments where you may be thrown into a situation that you don't feel is safe and you need to be able to advocate for yourself. So for example, this actually happened yesterday we had a Query TB, so we don't know she has tuberculosis but we think she does, so the unit actually assigned me to her but they didn't have my mask size for the N95. So I had to bring it up with the unit manager that I was unable to go into that room because I didn't have the proper PPE, and she was able to assign that patient to another person. So just knowing how to advocate for yourself, for your own safety and also for patients. Sometimes you might suggest something to the doctor and they may disagree, but if you feel that it's really going to benefit that patient and help with the plan of care, you need to advocate for them and tell them why you really recommend that type of intervention, and how it will benefit them, and yeah something I learned.
[Farwa follows up and asks]
Thank you and in terms of advocacy, do you feel some kind of apprehension when you're taking an issue up with a physician, like some kind of nervousness? So what would you recommend like new nurses and new graduates to tackle that kind of situation?
So as a new grad, just making sure you know how to present your information. I find that a lot of doctors just want you to get straight to point, be organized, they don't want you to be all over. They're very busy and they don't have a lot of time, so if you're in an emergency just take a minute to breathe, think about what's going on and what you think the patient needs, and then just present it to the doctor. So sometimes they're on the unit, sometimes you have to call them through the phone, but there's something that we learned in nursing school and it's, I forgot the term for it, it's an acronym. What's something you do to present information to the doctor to say "hi my name is whoever, I'm calling from this unit.... yeah it's the s bar" that's what you do. So "hi my name is Angelina, I'm calling from C4 medicine purple, I'm caring for this patient in this room" then just give them a bit of history, tell them what you found, what the issue is and what you recommend or what they recommend, and then just going forward they'll be able to put in new orders and you'll be able to help the patient.
[Farwa responds and asks]
Yeah thank you, and I wanted to ask in your opinion what do you think leadership in the field of nursing could look like?
[Angelina asks Farwa for clarification]
Sorry what was that?
[Farwa repeats her question]
I asked in your opinion, what do you think like leadership in the field of nursing could look like?
There's a lot of different ways to be a leader in nursing. I'd say if there's something that you see that isn't going well, it could be little things, so let's say you see family members going into a patient's room that's droplet contact without PPE, just playing that role to educate them, give them the reason why they should be wearing the PPE. So there's a lot of times I'd pull patient family out of the room to tell them put a gown on and some gloves, and they'll say "oh well I'm already exposed to them, why does it matter" and you really need to educate them on why it's important, and it's important because when they get out of that room they're touching everything, they're possibly spreading it to all the other nurses other patients. I find that that's how a lot of COVID is spread within the hospitals, it's visitors or nurses just not washing their hands properly and just spreading it within the hospital.
[Farwa response and then asks another question]
Yeah thank you. Sorry I thought there was a question. I just remembered my last question actually. So I'm just going to go back to the job process topic and ask that is there any hidden advice or hidden tips for students who want to apply for a part-time permanent position, especially new graduates? So are there any like hidden tips that they could use if they want to start off with that kind of position?
Sorry I was replying to a private message. Can you repeat?
[Farwa repeats her previous question]
No problem. I asked that any hidden tips or any hidden advice for new graduates who want to start their careers off with a full-time and permanent position? They mentioned that it's kind of hard for them to find that. So in your experience how did you navigate that to find that position?
Let's say browse and see what organizations you want to work with, and see what they have to offer. Even working within your own practicum, if you really enjoy that unit, make those connections with the unit manager, the nurse educator, your preceptor, and if you show them that you're a really good student, you have the potential to be an amazing nurse, they'll probably offer you a job. So that's something that you can do. Also, in terms of tips of being able to present yourself and let's say you didn't work on that unit, I'd say really learning on your practicum, so writing down everything you learn and that way when you have an interview you're able to look back and see, you know, I've done all these things, and just being able to present that to your potential employer and presenting yourself in a really good way. So just make sure that you really focus in your practicums and you really learn how to organize, how to assess, and how to prioritize what is most important, and yeah you'll be fine during your interview.
[Farwa responds and asks another question]
Yeah thank you for the tip, and in terms of networking, do you think online networking is as much useful as networking during your practicum? So especially like when you're most learning, many students might not get the chance to make connections or have that kind of time doing their practicum, so would online learning be as useful?
I'd say online is important as well, so having that LinkedIn page, a lot of hospitals actually post positions there too, like Mackenzie Health I saw a few positions, Markham Stouffville Sunnybrook, they all post positions there too. So if you have a really good LinkedIn page, has a good representation of what you've done in the past and you could be able to you can apply for a job that way, and you can actually meet with different managers on there. There's a lot of different employers and if you're looking for a lot of travel nursing again, that's one way you can get connected with those people.
Yeah thank you and going back to your previous answer about being a float nurse, I want to ask would you recommend being a float nurse to new graduates or nursing students in their fourth years as compared to being a nurse in a specialization? So do you think that would help them gain a little bit more experience, see what they wanted to do?
I'd say my advantage and why I was able to transition into a float position easier, what made it easy for me, was being in the same facility. Like again, I consolidated at Mackenzie Health and then I worked there, so they have the same charting system, the same policies, the same like narcotic machines. So a lot of the equipment is the same and it's the same kind of flow, so that was one thing that made it easier for me. So I'd say if you want to go into a float position maybe going for a hospital that you've already worked in. I don't think I'd be able to just go into a random hospital and be a float nurse there, but I mean I think it's definitely doable something that can be done. I just feel like what made it easier for me to be a float nurse as a new graduate was consolidating there and being aware with the charting system and all that, so it wasn't anything new that I really had to learn, and I find that all the units are relatively set up the same, so once you learn the hospital, you'll get into the flow.
[Farwa responds with another question]
Yeah thank you. In terms of starting their practicum, do you have any advice for students who are just starting their practicum in a hospital? Some things that they should remember or any tips that might help them?
I'd say have a really good relationship with your preceptor. If you find that you're not meshing well, you're not able to learn in that scenario, you need to advocate for yourself for a new preceptor and that way you can get the full experience. Sometimes I've had a few friends that had preceptors that didn't let them do anything, so literally take the step to try and do the things yourself. It's one thing to watch someone do something rather than do it, so just make sure that you have the opportunity to do new things that you've never done. That way when you're actually a nurse it won't be anything new for you you'd be like "okay I've done this before, nothing new" so just make sure that you hands-on skills.
[Bayley asks a follow-up question]
What were some of the hands-on skills that you got to practice during your practicum?
So being on IC there was a lot we were able to do, like deep suctioning, oral suctioning, I got to work with arterial lines, chest tubes what else, putting in IVS is something that I got to learn too. So depending on your organization, some places don't let students do it, but lucky enough I was able to practice that putting in Foleys. Yeah and then you get to see a lot too depending on what floors you're on so I've got to witness apnea tests, intubation, and there was a lot of CPR like code blues on the floor. So being able to participate and know how it flows and what different roles a nurse can hold in that position is really important, because when it actually does happen and it's your patient you're gonna have to talk to the doctor. So I actually saw someone make the mistake of, it was his first time on ICU, it's his first patient that crashed and he was actually doing this like the compressions, whereas after people come in to do the compressions you need to step out of the room so you could talk to the doctor and tell them who they are. So the doctor was really upset because she was like "who is this patient, I know nothing" so just being able to know how a code blue is supposed to flow is really important. Hold on, I have a few messages. So yeah you obviously don't know everything, for example putting like an NG tube in or OG tube. I actually had to they have Elsevier, so I think we have that in nursing school already, but you're able to review that skill through Elsevier before doing it on your patient, and also you have a nurse educator that you can call onto the unit, and she'll actually perform the skill with you too and provide you some guidance. So just be sure to take advantage of having that resource, the nurse educator is there to educate you and support you in any skill but the only issue is they don't work overnights and weekends, so if it's a Monday to Friday like seven to five, seven to six, you might be able to catch them and they can help you with the skills.
[Angelina proceeds with explanation, as she answers another student’s question]
And then Celine, yeah I find that certain floors have certain things, I'll just read the questions. So she's just asking if there's different skills or experiences I get from different units that you don't get on others? So for example telemetry, obviously the heart monitors, the whole term monitors, being able to hook them up, that's something that you don't really get holder monitors on other floors unless it's a critical patient going for like catheterization, but reading the strips up there doing all that, but you also get to do that on the ICU as well and the emerge. For surgery there's a lot of physio, and the PCA pumps is something that they use like post-op for the first 24-48 hours, so working the PCA pumps, knowing how to set it up, and teach the patient. Medicine floors I find is all organization prioritization, you get a lot of different things. Sometimes you get mental health patients that are there, so being able to work with that and knowing how to use restraints properly, there's been times where I walk into rooms and they tie the knots incorrectly, they're supposed to be a certain way that it's quick release, it's just really dangerous if there's an emergency, you should be able to pull that restraint off right away. It could just injure the patient really bad.
Again and then the emergency department I find is a way different flow from any floor. You get that patient and they're unstable and really you're there to stabilize them, and then once they're stable enough you send them up to a regular floor or the ICU, and I find that the emergency department, they have different sections so being a float nurse you're never in the acute area because that's where the really critical patients are and you need extra education on that, but there's different sections of the emergency department, there's sub-acute, resuscitation, ambulatory, and also the mental health section. So being a float nurse you need to know what you're allowed to handle, so we're only allowed to have patients that have been consulted and are admitted. So if we have any patients that are requiring any extra interventions, we are not supposed to take care of them, but you learn a lot of different things being on the emergency department. You learn a lot about putting the 12 leads on and putting in IVS, and different swabs and cultures like that.
[Farwa responds with a follow-up question]
Yeah thank you, and just a follow-up question to your answer, which unit did you feel was the most hands-on for you as a nurse?
[Angelina asks a question for clarification]
Most hands-on for me like in practicums?
[Angelina answers the question and says]
In practicum, I'd say like my last year like I feel like consolidation will always be your most hands-on. So I feel like since the patients were so critical in the ICU, there was a lot to do with like the suctioning and repositioning, because they're bed bound and you have to prevent the bed sores, so that was pretty heavy, but I find like every floor you'll learn skills. There’re different things to do all the time. Yeah I feel like every floor you'll get the hands-on experience for sure.
[Farwa asks a follow-up question]
Okay thank you, and you mentioned that you basically do mostly 12-hour shifts when you're working, so I wanted to ask what are some of your self-care tips that you do to just kind of relieve yourself?
Self-care tips, I'd say something I do is I always like meal prep. I always make sure I have a good lunch and that way I always I'm fed, I feel healthy, I don't feel sick on the floor. I don't know how some people show up to their shifts without eating breakfast. I always have my breakfast before coming, I always drink a certain amount of water. It's just a matter of being able to take care of yourself while you're taking other taking care of other people, because there's a lot of times where I've heard nurses getting like UTIs from not going to the washroom during their shifts, so just being able to find time for yourself within your actual shift to take care of yourself, take a drink of water, if you have to go to the washroom. So I think like one thing I really kept in mind to ensure I take care of myself is not stressing over time, just telling myself I have 12 hours, I have time to do it, so just being able to prioritize and manage your time that way.
Yeah, thank you.
[Bayley asks Angelina a follow-up question]
And what about the emotional aspect Angelina? because you know I'm sure that you've probably worked with patients before that have either had serious diagnoses or going through some kind of crisis in their life, so it could be a tough time for them and here you are caring for them, so how do you manage to care for them, but not have it weigh too heavily on yourself? Or how do you look after yourself when you may be feeling emotional in working with the patient?
So I'd say it's important to not feel sorry for them, but empathize with them and really be that support for them, because if you're always just feeling bad for them then it's not good for yourself, and I feel like you're not going to be really effective in supporting them. So just keeping in mind of how you can support them, asking them "is there anything I could do for you" and just not assuming what they want done for them. So whenever there's a situation, I always try to stay calm and focused and understanding, and I'll sit with them and give them the time of day and really listen to what's going on, just ask them open-ended questions, try and figure out like what's really going on, and sometimes they just end up solving their own problems, they just need to like talk it out. Also I forgot what it's called, I believe it's called empathetic touch, so even just like holding someone's hand I find like it makes the biggest difference.
So just being able to use therapeutic touch, so even I had a patient yesterday, he's a 56 year old man just so nauseous trying to throw up, he's not throwing up, he's dry heaving and he's telling me to help him, I've already given him all the drugs I can give, and it's just like what can I do for you. I just sat there and rubbed his back and I called his parents, like not his parents, his wife and I put him on Zoom , so there's different ways you can try and support your patient and make them feel better. It's just sometimes it's difficult yeah, but just not bringing it home with you is important as well, because I'm just working in that field, you're going to be working with sick people or people with poor prognosis. I'd say the hardest for me was in ICU, a lot of those people are really unstable and it's not the patient you're actually working with, it's more family members so being able to, we have really good social workers, but I try to like give family members really good updates and supporting them in that sense, that way they feel like they know what's going on and we're doing the best we can. So I try to always explain myself to the family.
[Farwa follows up with a student’s question]
Yeah thank you, Angelina. We had a question in the chat, so what was the biggest difference when working in pediatrics and other units?
For pediatrics, so I haven't been floated there yet but from my clinical experience I found that the IV drug medications were, if you're not good at math that could be something overwhelming, but just practice your dosage calculations, and the unit we worked at we always had to get our our calculations checked by another nurse. So a lot of IV medications and a lot of bribing with the children unfortunately, so even trying to get them to take a med can be really complicated or doing some interventions, they just don't understand what's going on, so the way you approach them, the way you speak to them, the way you explain things to them, it's different based on age group. So I think that was something that was really different. A lot of children would see you in your gown and all that, and they would just think you're scary because someone hurt them before, so they just start crying even though you just walked in the room. So pediatrics I found was kind of difficult for me, because I just I found it difficult to explain to the children like what's going on, but yeah different age groups also have different vital signs that are normal. So I think that's something that was difficult for me. There's like a lot for pediatrics but I mean I love working with them, they're so cute, I got to go to the NICU and they're just so tiny, but it's just very different in drug medications and the social interaction.
Yeah thank you.
[Angelina adds another point to answer the student’s question]
Sorry, the parents. The parents, if it's their first child they're always very anxious I find. So being able to work with the family members and their anxiety because that's their child and they're sick, so I think if I was going into pediatrics now I'd enjoy it a lot more, but as a student trying, I was learning pediatrics while placed there, so it's like I didn't have all the answers when the families were asking, so just yeah be able to explain to the family members the procedures and what's going on, and that way you can see their anxiety.
Thank you, I guess it could be overwhelming right?
Yeah a little bit especially if you're just learning the topic in school.
[Farwa asks another question]
Yeah, and in terms of the future, I just want to ask what do you think might be the next step for you as a healthcare professional? So, you might not know but where do you think you would want to be, like in what kind of unit that you would see yourself in a permanent position?
I really want to get back into the intensive care unit. I enjoy having one to two patients, I enjoy the ratio and just being able to focus on them and really knowing what their background history is and their story, and I feel that way if you really understand who that patient is and what's going on, you'll be able to advocate for them and really know what the family goals are. I enjoy actually using like my knowledge and like pathophysiology and all that information, so I think probably going into the critical care setting.
[Farwa asks another question]
Yeah thank you. Next up I have kind of like a nostalgic question for you, so what is one course and one professor that you remember from your time at York, which was last year not too long ago, but something that you found really valuable for yourself or just really enjoyable?
So one course and professor I really remember, was Monica Gola. She taught the mental health aspect for me, so it was my first year at York University and I was her course rep, and she was just really supportive, and I love the way she taught her lessons and I just remembered, she also dressed up for Halloween and she brought everyone like chocolates and stuff. She was just really sweet and I really enjoyed that course and it really made my first year.
[Farwa responds and asks the audience]
Yeah thank you. Is there anybody else here who has had that professor? You can type in the chat.
If you don't know who she is, she has like blonde hair, like glasses, I think she was also a professor for her community, I'm not too sure.
[Farwa asks the concluding question]
Okay, so just to close off I wanted to ask if you would like to share any tips for students who are going to graduate soon or who are going to be starting their practicums, or any advice during your time as a nurse and as your time as a student leader that you could share with students that are basically working in a remote environment right now?
My biggest advice is to start studying for your NCLEX as soon as possible. I think one of my biggest mistakes was just waiting to graduate and then study, so there's a lot to know, you're not gonna know everything but if you don't wanna take too long to write your test just make sure you start looking at a few topics right now, just slowly reviewing and that way it's not so overwhelming when you have to tackle it right in April. Also another tip I'd say is really get to, I think I already said this, but just really build those connections in the organization that you want to work in, so whether it's your placement or if it's somewhere you place like a couple years back and you want to go there, just really know, just network and just apply for the position and they'll reach back. Have a good cover letter too so based on your preference of the unit, they may be looking for different personalities or interests, so just make sure your cover letter is catered towards that type of unit. For someone that's thinking into getting into nursing, just really think about why you want to go into nursing, if it's just something you want to do because you just want money. There's a lot of people that go in just like because they know you get a job after, but just make sure that you really want to be caring for these people. It's long shifts, it's pretty heavy every work, you would deal with a lot and sometimes you're not appreciated, but at the end of the day you just want to be relatively caring. If you really want to care for someone and that's something that you're interested in, I'd highly suggest going into nursing. I would also do some research on what type of fields you can go into, because there's not always bedside nursing, you can go into community nursing. If you don't want to be in that type of field, there's the administration field where you're more in the offices, so just really looking into what kind of nursing you want to get into.
[Farwa responds, directs a question to the audience, and concludes the session]
Yeah thank you, and the students have any last minute questions or comments for Angelina?
Yeah so I guess there are no more questions, so we'll conclude the session now. Thank you so much Angelina for being here, for giving us your time, and for incredible advice and for sharing your experiences. And thank you everyone for giving us your time during reading week for being here, and hopefully found this session useful. It will be recorded and uploaded on the website in case you want to go back and visit it later, and yeah thank you so much everyone. I hope you have a great weekend and take care. Thanks for coming, bye everyone.