Today is definitely a day to celebrate nurses!
- The World Health Organization has designated 2020 the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
- This week is National Nursing Week in Canada.
- Today (May 12) is Florence Nightingale’s birthday and International Nurses’ Day.
As part of the year-long celebration, Northern Health will be highlighting a different nurse or midwife each month.
For May, we interviewed Ami Drummond, an Occupational Health Nurse & Safety Advisor. Ami is from Victoria and currently works in Fort St. John.
Can you describe your current role in Northern Health?
I’m an Occupational Health Nurse and Safety Advisor. It’s a very long title because I work within health care as a health care professional, for health care professionals from a prevention perspective, and applying a safety lens.
My job encompasses things like the Influenza Prevention Program for staff, communicable disease, and outbreak exposure followup, and ensuring that Northern Health has current programs and policies to address employee health while at work.
Where do you live? How do you feel about it?
I live in Fort St. John, and I’ve been here for about 10 months. I was in Prince George for three years before moving here. I love that it’s a small and very family-oriented community. I’m from Victoria originally, so it’s been an adjustment living up North, but I love it!
Your role sounds interesting! How’d you get into it?
I’ve been an Occupational Health Nurse and Safety Advisor for the last four years; before that, I was a public health nurse specializing in high-risk pregnancy and early parenting.
I was in public health for 10 years before I came to Northern Health. It was a different population of clients, but very similar work in the sense that it’s all about prevention. My current work is focused on policies and programs to support the prevention and management of exposure to communicable disease for NH employees.
What do you like about your role?
I love the autonomy and all the new opportunities that I’ve had to learn. For example, taking Northern Health courses about developing policies and clinical practice standards and quality improvement. I do a lot of program and policy work in my job now, and I really enjoy that, as I’m a big-picture thinker.
What impact does your role have on patients/staff?
My patients are Northern Health employees. All nurses have clients. Clients can be individuals, families, a community, or a population. My client is a population, and that population is Northern Health employees.
Ensuring that there are policies, programs, and processes in place for employees in the event they have a needle-stick injury or are exposed to a communicable disease while at work ensures their future health and safety, and is essential to a safe workplace. This involves prevention activities such as immunization, pre-employment immunity assessments, and TB [Tuberculosis] screening.
What has your nursing background taught you?
That you’ll never know it all, and that’s OK! You need to know what to ask, who to ask, the places to look, how to be resourceful, and how to critically think your way through a situation and use nursing judgement.
What made you want to go into nursing?
I guess the short answer is that I wanted to help people. I come from a family of nurses and writers, and writing was not the most financially stable option. It was very clear to me which was probably the smarter choice. I think that’s why I’ve found a nice balance in my current job; there’s a lot of academic and professional writing, as well as nursing practise.
I do miss direct patient care sometimes. I think any nurse in an administrative role would tell you that you miss those moments sometimes. I know I’m fortunate, however, and I’m very grateful to have a less physically and emotionally demanding job. I do get to have interactions with employees fairly regularly through the services we provide, such as employee immunization clinics and post-exposure followup.
What is one thing about nurses that you wish you could tell everyone?
Watch your pen! We’ll take it – it’ll be gone before you even know it!
But in all seriousness, it’s important to remember that most nurses are there because they care about people. Despite all the current challenges in health care, and being pulled in many different directions, we do our best because we care.
What drew you to NH?
I was with Island Health in Victoria, and we were planning a move to Prince George so my husband could go to UNBC.
I called Northern Health recruitment to see what was available. They were great and were quickly able to help direct me to available positions that would be a good fit. I was really well supported to find a good fit for me.