Interview with registered nurse, Courtney Benoit

Courtney Benoit registered nurse

What do you do?
I am a registered nurse in the emergency department of a rural hospital.

How long have you been in this field for?
I did my fourth year clinical placement on a medical surgical floor and they ended up hiring me through Health Force Ontario‘s New Graduate Initiative. Funding was available to provide nurses with 20 weeks of practise opportunity, with the opportunity to transition to a permanent full-time position. So I was actually working as a nurse before I even fully graduated, and upon completion of the 20 weeks I was hired permanently. It was a great experience. I stayed on the med-surg floor for about 4 years and then I took a charge position there. I thought that this was my ‘forever job’ and was so happy to get the position. But after about a year in this role I realized I wanted more patient interaction and higher acuity, so transferred to the emergency department and am currently working there.

What inspired you to pursue this career?
My inspiration to work in healthcare came early. I have two siblings who had childhood cancer, so early on I recognized the role of care providers. As a child I attended Camp Trillium, an environment which sort of normalized cancer as fellow campers were going through the same experiences. I liked the idea that I could be involved in their care as well and play such an important role in their lives.

What was the biggest hurdle in attaining your career goals?
One of the biggest hurdles in attaining my career goals has honestly been figuring out what I truly want to do within this profession. The BScN degree was challenging but obviously attainable—but once you graduate its hard to decide which avenue to take. One of the great things about the profession is the opportunity to work in such a variety of settings. I love emergency nursing, but a part of me is interested in teaching nursing or perhaps doing some travel nursing—so I guess making these decisions continue to be my biggest hurdles!

What do you like most about your work?
I honestly love being a nurse. In this role I am constantly challenging myself, learning new things and I love the impact I am able to have on a patient’s health experience. I like being able to help people, and to know that I made a difference. On the medical surgical floor I did a lot of palliation and worked primarily with the geriatric population which I enjoyed but I am also really enjoying the emergency nursing role. It’s exciting to be able to have a patient present with varied problems, work them up to do the appropriate investigations, provide treatment and physically see them get better—its very satisfying.

What do you find most challenging about your work?
I find that it can be emotionally draining. Nursing is unlike other careers that when you leave work it’s done. Theres a lot of emotional baggage that comes home with me. After a particularly hard case I continue to think about patients or their loved ones. I find it hard to ‘turn off’ after that bad case or particular patient. Th emergency department can often be a very high stress environment, additional challenges like working with short staffing or long hours only adds to this stress.

If you weren’t a nurse, what would you be?
Hmm. If I wasn’t a nurse there are lots of careers I would consider. I could picture myself teaching, or in psychology, or a developmental support worker. There are so many careers—I feel like it would be tough to decide.

Name one hobby you have that’s not related to your work.
I love wake boarding and try to get out as much as possible in the summer. Any activity around water is great—wake boarding ,wake surfing, swimming, hottubbing, tubing, beaching… count me in.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Pour a coffee or make a protein shake and start breakfast for the littles. With two children, I am a mom, but also feel slightly like a waitress and as soon as I emerge from bedroom it’s game time and the requests start coming in.

And last thing you do at night?
Kiss my kids and tell my husband how much I love him.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you enjoy your job.
10 without a doubt. I absolutely love my job.

Are you passionate about your work? Inspire others by sharing your story. Get in touch.