Nursing Week: Celebrating Spark Nurses and PSWs

Kristin Perrin
Kristin Perrin
May 10, 2021
Reading Time: 7 min
COVID-19, Nurses, Nursing, Pandemic, PSWs, Inspiration

Nursing Week couldn’t come at a more poignant time given the current pandemic crisis. At a local level, our healthcare providers are working around the clock: full time, overtime, and then some to help save lives and comfort those in need. At Spark, we believe Nursing Week should be celebrated all year round, not just throughout the second week in May.

Spark also proudly celebrates Personal Support Workers (PSWs) this week “which one could consider controversial,” says Nikki, Nursing Specialist at Spark Lifecare. “Our team would not be the same without PSWs,” she adds. “It is time to give PSWs recognition for all of the hard work that they do.” 

It is time to thank all Nurses and PSWs for their tireless dedication to an all encompassing career.

In honour of Nursing Week 2021, we reached out to our Spark caregivers to ask them a few questions about what it takes to be a Nurse and a PSW in our current climate.

What does it take to be a nurse?

“I believe that to be a great nurse, one is answering a true calling. This is not an easy career move as it often requires a great deal of selflessness, at times. It involves missing special family events, working holidays and weekends. Sometimes it means absence from baby’s first steps, and other memorable hallmark moments. Sometimes it means not even taking care of your own family when they are sick. Something has to have a good hold on your soul to keep you from these things. It is to watch in awe of those relearning how to eat and speak, walk, or perhaps adapt to a new set of challenges with you there; to help ease their path. It is to be mesmerized by those taking their first breath – to those taking their last; understanding that in the patient’s journey, you are there for them. I can’t think of another career that would let me gaze at the intimacies of an individual across their lifespan other than nursing. As much as I love it, it takes its toll on your soul. It makes you sit in being uncomfortable until you are comfortable! It is a career that changes a person completely. I would never do anything but nursing. It is a part of me.”

– Brenna, Registered Nurse at Spark Lifecare

Dawn’s Journey

Registered Nurse at Spark Lifecare

Why did you become a Registered Nurse? 

“I became a nurse to expand on my skills, and knowledge in the health industry, and make a personal difference in the lives of my family, friends, and my community. I became a nurse to share my expertise, compassion, and instincts towards improving the health and welfare of Canadians in the spirit of Florence Nightingale, my hero.”

What is your most memorable moment while working as a nurse for Spark?

“My most memorable moments with Spark have been in witnessing the wonderful progress of my clients over the years. Plus knowing that I am a large part of improving their quality of life & overall medical safety.”

What has been your pandemic experience working as a nurse?

“My workload has doubled since the pandemic. My focus on pediatrics has become especially vital as the need for homecare has increased with hospitals overwhelmed at present.”

What changes would you like to see for the future of nursing / Canadian healthcare? How does Spark Lifecare make a difference, in your opinion?

“I hope to see more nurses graduate, and enter this critically demanding field to protect the healthcare of our country. Spark has made a huge difference by initiating the best agency of healthcare workers to provide professional assistance to our clients sequestered at home during this time of uncertainty.”

Katelyn’s Journey

Registered Practical Nurse at Spark Lifecare

Why did you become a nurse? 

“I was always inspired by the nurses I met during my childhood hospitalization. It was in recognition of how much they truly cared about me, and my health that inspired me to go the route of nursing. No other job has ever made me feel as complete as nursing does.”

Father and baby playing

What is your most memorable moment while working as a nurse for Spark?

“My most memorable moment so far working for Spark is that I get to make a positive impact with the families I work with. For instance, even just playing outside on the family’s swing set, and watching my clients laugh and smile is such a precious memory for me.”

What has been your pandemic experience working as a nurse?

“It has been difficult and stressful at times for sure. I am always worried about what is happening around me, how it might affect my family, or my clients. Working as a nurse in a pandemic has been challenging to say the least. There’s been a lot of negative circumstances thrown our way; but we will continue to provide care for as long as needed.”

Sherry’s Journey

Personal Support Worker at Spark Lifecare

Why did you become a Personal Support Worker? 

“I work in this field because I love making people laugh and smile. It brings me joy to be able to help others, and make someone’s day a little bit brighter! I am also very compassionate, and empathic. Clients and coworkers, combined with the care and support provided by our head office at Spark is truly amazing! It has been a really great feeling as a newcomer to this city. I feel so welcomed and appreciated.”

What is your most memorable moment while working as a PSW for Spark?

“I have many great memories and laughs working for Spark. The overall experience has been really wonderful. I have literally met some of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with.”

What has been your pandemic experience working as a PSW?

“During the pandemic I have seen everyone pull together, and work even harder – as a team. I think we all show each other love and compassion no matter what, especially on our bad days!”

What changes would you like to see for the future of nursing / Canadian healthcare? How does Spark Lifecare make a difference, in your opinion?

“I’d like to see more inclusive courses for schools of nursing. I would love to have dual courses with RNs and RPNs so everyone can learn together and maybe then it would improve the work relationships between all nursing. At Spark everybody is treated equally, everyone is given the opportunity for growth and development, it truly is a place that wants to help their staff prosper.”

Alannah’s Journey

Student Nurse and Personal Support Worker at Spark Lifecare

Why did you become a nursing student? 

“I decided to go into nursing for a variety of reasons. I loved the idea of a challenging, interesting, and rewarding career that allows you to make a difference every day. I have always had a desire to help others. Whether it was make-believing, pretending to fix my parents’ ‘broken legs’ as a child, or providing care to sick and injured animals on farms, rescues, and veterinary clinics. I love the variety of environments that nurses discover themselves in within the profession. I’m really excited to explore a number of different nursing paths throughout my career. 

Almost every day, I think to myself, ‘can you believe you just did that?’

Or, ‘wow, what an incredible experience to be a part of!’ 

I am so grateful for what I have learned so far. I’m absolutely thrilled at the thought of what lies ahead.”

What has been your pandemic experience working as a nurse / PSW?

“The pandemic has brought so much light to so many existing and underlying issues at hand. It has clearly identified several inequalities. From the heartbreaking struggles of staff, and residents in nursing homes fighting desperately every day, to the food, job, and housing insecurity of vulnerable populations. The effects have been devastating. It is not, however, all bad. I have witnessed incredible collaboration, and cooperation between individuals and teams. I’ve seen inspirational displays of strength and determination. I have learned to appreciate the simple things, and be grateful for the health and happiness of my loved ones, friends, and clients.  

As we head into the warmer months, I feel excited and hopeful for a brighter future.”

What changes would you like to see for the future of nursing / Canadian Healthcare?  How does Spark Lifecare make a difference?

“I would like to see continued advocacy for the more vulnerable populations. I hope to see sensitivity training for health care providers on populations who are regularly marginalized, and stereotyped to ensure we are providing care that is respectful, as well as specific to their needs. 

I hope nurses and PSWs continue to be knowledgeable about services in the community, and not only direct individuals to them, but guide and connect them to the appropriate resources. 

I hope to be a part of a new wave of impassioned nurses entering the profession, ready to serve as advocates, educators, leaders, and care providers. 

Spark Lifecare does a wonderful job of showcasing how important holistic care is, and always ensures that even the quietest voices are heard. I see effective collaboration between team members on a daily basis. Spark creates a safe space for all care providers to be themselves and creates an environment that helps facilitate exceptional client care.”

Lisa’s Journey

Personal Support Worker at Spark Lifecare

Why did you become a Personal Support Worker? 

“I started nursing school initially. However, during my first placement, I quickly realized how much I enjoyed the Personal Support Worker role. The PSW work really seemed to resonate with me. So, I became a PSW 13 years ago and haven’t looked back. Helping clients to brighten their day with my care gives me joy.”

What is your most memorable moment while working as a PSW for Spark?

“I have many great memories and laughs working for Spark. The overall experience has been really wonderful. I have literally met some of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with.”

What has been your pandemic experience working as a PSW?

“A lot of fear. The fear of spreading Covid-19 to my clients or my family on a daily basis.”

What changes would you like to see for the future of nursing / Canadian healthcare? How does Spark Lifecare make a difference, in your opinion?

“Spark has ensured safety measures and proper protocols remain in place at all times to make sure each client and caregiver stays safe during the pandemic. All the responses have been very quick and very well-organized. I really appreciate all the messages to check-in on how I was holding up during the pandemic from Spark.”

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