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Nurses reflect on their profession

May 9-15 was National Nursing Week, a celebration of a profession that was thrust into the spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic.
three nurses web
Shannon Lindstrom, Dylan Stacey and Angela McIvor

National Nursing Week was celebrated May 9-15  in honour of not only Florence Nightingale’s birthday, but also those who have followed after her into the nursing profession.  

The Wikipedia definition of nursing is quite elaborate and rightfully so, as the responsibilities of a nurse can vary substantially depending on the area of nursing you are in. During the past two years, nursing has been in the spotlight possibly more than ever before, thanks to the pandemic. Stories of high stress levels, low staffing levels and burnout have dominated the news in healthcare.  And though nursing may not be all sunshine and roses, here in Thompson we have many nurses who are proud of (and still enjoying) the profession.

One of those nurses is Shannon Lindstrom, a 28-year veteran of obstetrical nursing.  Lindstrom was born and raised in Thompson, got married and raised her family here. She says she went into nursing with the intention of working obstetrics and though she has thought at times of switching it up and working in a different area, she never did. It’s quite rare to meet a nurse who has stayed working in the same department their entire career, but Lindstrom says it never gets boring. “Obstetrics is very unpredictable, it’s not an area that’s always the same. Every woman is different, every labour is different, their stories are different.”

For Lindstrom, the best and worst parts of her job were easily identifiable. “Being there for the most important day in people’s lives, everyone remembers their birth story … the nurse that helped them.”  

She says she has had people come up to her in Walmart and hug her because they recognize her as the nurse who was there when their baby was delivered.  

At the other end of the spectrum are the difficult things about her job. “Being there for the worst days, dealing with loss, still births and miscarriages, it’s emotionally challenging.”

Another Thompson born and bred nurse is a recent graduate of the bachelor of nursing program at university College of the North, Dylan Stacey.  

Stacey has been working medicine/surgery/pediatrics for seven months at Thompson General Hospital. “I got to go to school here and get a job here which has been really nice.” Stacey says he never really saw himself becoming a nurse but taking anatomy in high school “piqued his interest” and now says he enjoys working with the public and meeting people.

When asked what he likes most about his job, Stacey says, “I like everyone that I work with. Sometimes there are staffing/resource issues but you have this group of people that are going through the same thing and you just kind of make the most of it. Those little things make it so much better.”  

Stacey says he also enjoys getting to know his patients. “You get to see those patients get better and you get to discharge them home. They don’t come in in the greatest mood but they’re leaving happy and thankful.”

Coincidentally, Lindstrom was working the day Stacey was born.

Nursing can be a stressful occupation and, depending on the area you work in, not conducive to family life. Angela McIvor has been working as a nurse since 2010 and currently works as the best practice nurse at Northern Spirit Manor. She has worked in various departments, including medicine/surgery/pediatrics, psychiatry, and obstetrics doing 12-hour shifts and most recently she took a Monday-Friday position in long-term care. “In order to spend quality time with my son, (I have a young son), I’ve had to switch jobs but that’s what I am grateful about nursing for. There’s lots of different types of nursing you can do.” McIvor studied nursing through the Red River College/University of Manitoba joint baccalaureate program and, after working in Winnipeg briefly, she returned to the north.  She says she was influenced to get into nursing because of family members who are nurses and also her mom’s best friend, who she “really looked up to.”