Charge nurse takes us along for a shift on the beautiful Sunshine Coast.
In celebration of Nursing Week, nurses from across Vancouver Coastal Health are taking us along for their shift — giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the important work they do, alongside their interdisciplinary teams, to care for our patients, clients and residents.
Charleigh Mathies is a patient care supervisor at Sechelt Hospital on the Sunshine Coast. She's worked at Sechelt hospital for nine years in many different roles and now provides leadership and nursing expertise to her teams in all areas of the hospital — from the emergency department (ED) to the Critical Care Unit (CCU).
Charleigh recently took us along for one of her shifts — documenting her day to give us a behind-the-scenes look at her role. Here's what she shared:
It's 5:15 a.m. and it's the start of my work day and work week. Obstacles are already in place: How can I get up without disrupting this fur baby? She's one of three that are snuggled in. Most of my morning routine is taking care of their needs before my own — 30 minutes for them and another 15 minutes for me to shower and get out the door.
My commute is approximately 30 minutes. I take this time to think about and prioritize my day. But before I pass through the doors of the hospital, I need to stop and get a latte. On the weekend, I connect with staff to see if anyone would like a coffee. Because of COVID-19, all local coffee shops are closed until well after shift start times, so I altered my shift start time on weekends so I can help make staff happier and fulfill their morning coffee needs.
I arrive to work just before 7 a.m. and ready myself for a brief nursing morning huddle. All nursing staff gather in our hospital lobby for any updates, communications and questions they may have. It's a great time for teambuilding and to discuss any areas of need within the hospital — and distribute coffees, of course.
COVID-19 has changed many things we do around the hospital. From the way we manage a cardiac arrest, using N95 masks and other personal protective equipment where needed, and even using walkie talkies to communicate with the staff — we've all had to adapt.
In-the-moment education is also essential to the ongoing professional development of our nursing staff. One of these moments included me demonstrating how to properly fit a BiPap mask and going over protocols with a colleague.
My work colleagues are amazing! Nurses, care aides, unit clerks, physicians — we're all part of the same team and I couldn't do my job without them. This team works so hard for our patients and for each other. A shift is always made better by the people you work with. I've received some pretty amazing inspiration from my team. I found this note in my inbox last week:
For Nurses Week 2020, we have decided to use this week to show our appreciation to the Sunshine Coast community for all the support they have given us during the time of COVID-19. We placed pictures of staff with signs of thank you in our local newspaper and on social media.
In our rural community, the 7 p.m. cheer really becomes a neighbourhood event. The experience of knowing that that cheer is for you is really humbling. It hits you at your core and makes you feel that all the hard work is worth it as you hear the appreciation.
The first month working through this pandemic was tough. There's so much planning and preparation mixed with some fear. My teams and the camaraderie are what keep me going.
Be sure to check out our Nursing Week campaign at @vchhealthcare on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as we profile new nurses across the regions every week during the month of May!