When Janice Allain left a traditional career in nursing to become a Special Authorization Unit (SAU) nurse with Medavie, she never could have imagined how the course of her life would change. “Because I was not doing night shift and working weekends, I was able to join the Running Room 15 years ago and ended up doing over 30 half marathons and three full marathons. Medavie changed my life.”
Her colleague Gabrielle is an avid birdwatcher. “If you see me walking around looking at the sky and trees, I am looking for bird species. A couple of years ago, I actually planned a trip to Newfoundland so I could see numerous puffins.”
Birding and Running
Both Janice and Gabrielle credit joining Medavie to discovering their passions for running and birding, while allowing them to continue their calling of caring for others.
As SAU nurses who support Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) clients (and previously Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) clients) through a contract Medavie has with the federal department to administer its health benefits program*, Janice and Gabrielle assess and make decisions on requests for special authorized medications, medical equipment and supplies, urgent surgeries, chemotherapy and various multidisciplinary treatments such as physiotherapy and occupational therapy.
“I love to work with different providers being either pharmacist, doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Registered Nurses and other health professionals to help IRCC clients meet their health needs,” says Gabrielle.
“We Answer the Call” is the theme of National Nursing Week, May 9-15, 2022, an annual even to recognize the diverse roles and many contributions nurses make to the wellbeing of Canadians ― the mission of Medavie.
Making a Difference
“I love that my career at Medavie still allows me to help others and I feel I make a difference in health needs of IRCC clients,” says Gabrielle.
Janice agrees. “I’m still helping someone even if I’m not doing bedside nursing. The knowledge I acquired through the years comes into great use everyday when I need to assess a claim based on the medical information provided.”
Janice draws from an extensive background in nursing for her role that includes work on the geriatric floor, the emergency room, with New Brunswick’s Extra-Mural Program (EMP), and as a paramedic with Ambulance New Brunswick (ANB).**
Gabrielle was as a labour delivery nurse for most of her hospital career before working briefly in oncology. After a few months, she returned to her “favourite department” because she “missed the mothers and babies too much.”
Returning to School
Janice’s proudest achievement is studying for her nursing degree as a mature student when her young children started school. “I even had to go back to school for one year and do some grade 12 courses as a prerequisite to enter the nursing program.”
However, it was “missing out on family events and sports outings with her children” that led to her career change. “After years of doing night shift and weekends, I felt I needed a greater work-life balance,” Janice recalls. “I had friends that worked at Medavie who encouraged me to apply and here I am almost 20 years later.”
Gabrielle shares a similar story. “After 14 years working in the traditional hospital setting, I knew that I needed a change. My family circumstances were starting to get harder for me to do night shifts. My son was young and my husband’s work often brought him out of province for many days of the week. I spoke with an old co-worker who was working as a SAU nurse at Medavie and loved it. I decided to apply and 13 years later I am still here and still enjoying my job. It provides a work/life balance that I could not get in the hospital setting.”
“What I cherish the most about my nursing career is that even though I started working in a hospital setting and later transitioned to a non-traditional setting, I still get to use my medical knowledge, my compassion for others and work with a wonderful team.”
Janice believes the ability to work under pressure, multitask and still provide quality care, makes ideal candidates for the “many” career opportunities that Medavie offers to health professionals.
Janice and Gabrielle are among the Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses (RNs and LPNs) and former nurses we employ throughout our organization — in our offices, air and ground ambulances and communication centres — applying their skills and training to ensure the Canadians we serve receive timely access to quality care.
Nursing is a Calling
Every day, they demonstrate that nursing is more than a profession — it is a calling. Whether it be answering 811/911 calls, assessing travel and health benefit claims, delivering care to patients’ homes, managing disability claims, or contributing to development of our health and drug benefit solutions with clinical knowledge and expert advice, these health professionals put the heart into health care.
National Nursing Week gives us a welcome opportunity to thank the nurses at Medavie for their expertise, professionalism and dedication to keeping people healthy. Join us in celebrating this occasion by using use #CNA2022 #WeAnswerTheCall #IKnowANurse #NationalNursingWeek #IND2022 #Nurses2022 #VoiceToLead in your social posts. Share stories of exceptional nurses you know like Gabrielle and Janice, using #IKnowANurse, because everyone knows a nurse who has left a lasting impression!
To read the full article, visit Medavie.ca.