Working at Northern Health
Challenging and rewarding
Carla Lennert is the Nurse Manager at Terraceview Lodge, Northern Health’s 99-bed, long-term care home in Terrace. As one of the facility's main administrators, responsible for staffing and patient care, work has been exceptionally demanding this past year. COVID-19 looms as a constant threat to the security and lives of all staff and patients.
“It’s definitely been a challenging year, navigating policies and procedures around COVID-19,” Carla said. “But ultimately, my job is really rewarding. I enjoy going to work every day because of the residents at Terraceview. These people have lived for lifetimes and still find joy every day. It’s rewarding to spend time with them, learn from them, and support them and their families.”
Why did you come to Terrace?
Opportunities and affordability
Originally from Nanaimo, Carla came to Terrace in 2006 on her first assignment as an agency nurse. Agency nurses travel to different communities for short-term assignments, temporarily filling staff shortages.
She and Eric, her then-boyfriend/now-husband, were looking for an adventure. They were originally heading to Haida Gwaii. But when that work assignment fell through, the agency offered Carla a position in Terrace. Deciding this would be a great opportunity to earn and save money in a community where Eric could take college courses, she accepted the offer.
“Originally, I came for a three-month assignment. Then I extended it to 6 months. Then 9 months,” Carla said. “After that, Northern Health asked me to take a permanent position and I did.”
Why did you stay?
Interesting work, great friends, active lifestyle
“It all made sense. It was opportune as a young professional,” Carla said. “We could live comfortably and I really enjoyed the work. The diversity of my work was intriguing. As a nurse here, I was involved with pediatrics, medical, surgical… a little bit of everything. I eventually started working in critical care and even got involved in the BC Nurses Union as a representative.”
Carla and Eric knew no one when they first arrived, but Eric clicked immediately with a local girl he sat next to in one of his biology classes.
“I knew her and Carla would get along,” he said. Fifteen years later, their families are still close.
“The friends we have made in Terrace are solid,” Eric said. “We all help each other out. We get along. We have fun. And now our kids are growing up together. We couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Both Eric and Carla love being active and outdoors. So the outdoor sports lifestyle in Terrace fit well with them too.
“We started downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, fishing, camping, hiking… you name it,” Carla said.
Just one year after they arrived, the couple bought their first home together - a 4-bedroom house with a ¼ acre garden for less than $200,000.
“It was so affordable compared to Vancouver Island,” Carla said.
Farm life, family life, good life
On that first property, the couple and their two kids – Maelle, who is now 9, and Daeyin, now 6 – got a taste for farming. They started growing their own food, and raising chickens for eggs and meat.
A few years later, the family moved to an even bigger, 10-acre property - a farm just outside of Terrace, where they started raising even more animals for food. Depending on the time of the year, they may have up to 12 pigs, 30 turkeys, and a mix of ducks and chickens. They also have three dogs, three cats and a horse.
With both Carla and Eric working full-time, the kids’ school and activities, and the farm and animals, the family is busy, to say the least.
This past year was even more intense. When schools closed because of the pandemic, the couple had to temporarily adjust their work schedules. Carla started working very early in the mornings, and Eric started working afternoons and evenings. Friends took care of the kids for the two hours that their schedules overlapped.
While their farming lifestyle adds to their “bonkers schedule,” as Eric puts it, Carla actually says it actually helps her manager stress.
“Our home is my grounding spot. It’s calming because I can focus on one task at a time,” Carla said. “The farm doesn’t feel like work.”
The family spends most of their free time together, working and playing on and around their property. The neighbourhood shares a huge network of trails, good for cross-country skiing, horse-riding, mountain biking and hiking. The Lennerts spend a lot of their time as a family on those trails.
“We do it all together and we love it,” Carla said.