Nursing at HHS an “absolute dream” with lots of opportunity
Nurse: patient, kind, resilient professional who is trained to care for others; a superhero
At Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS), the nursing profession is at the heart of the care team. We employ over 4,000 nurses across the province’s most complex and comprehensive healthcare system. Our nurses provide specialty care throughout the entire life cycle, from pre-birth to old age.
Are you considering a career in nursing? Do you want to know more about nursing at HHS?
Meet four nurses and get inspired by their passion for caring for patients – and their unique journey to get where they are today.
From student to nurse during a worldwide pandemic
“Looking back, I would tell my younger self that nursing is such an amazing profession, and to just go for it!” says Nikki Ohayon, a registered nurse in the Women’s and Newborn Program at HHS’ McMaster University Medical Centre and McMaster Children’s Hospital. “I love that fact that I am able to play a small part in the lives of mothers both new and experienced, newborns, and their families,” she says.
Ohayon has worked as a registered practical nurse since 2017 and recently graduated from the RPN-BScN program at McMaster University to become a registered nurse. She is pursuing her masters of science in nursing. She began her journey at HHS as a clinical extern in 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been working at HHS ever since. “It was a very unique experience,” she says. “It’s an absolute dream.”
An internationally educated nurse’s journey from Croatia to Canada
Kristina Muren graduated from nursing school in Croatia in 1998 and worked her first job in a trauma centre. She moved to Canada in 2010 and became involved in HHS’ Internationally Educated Nurses (IEN) program where she received help with navigating the registration and education process in Hamilton. “I have met the most amazing people and fellow nurses through this project and I continue to participate as a clinical integrator by helping IEN’s integrate into Canada,” she says.
Muren was first hired at HHS as a health care aide and later, transitioned into a registered practical nurse role with the Nursing Resource Team at HHS – a team which floats between different areas of the hospital as needed. In 2018, she graduated from Ryerson University and moved into a registered nurse role. Fast forward a few years later and she is enrolled in a master’s program, working full time in the HHS emergency department, and working as a clinical tutor for nursing students at McMaster University.
“HHS has given me the first opportunity for employment in Canada and has provided me with support and financial security to be able to pursue my credentials and continue my education. It has also given me the opportunity to grow as a nurse and as an individual,” she says.
“I started my journey as a nurse at the age of 14. In the beginning, I did not know or understand the complexities of this job or how rewarding it would feel. With time, I fell in love with this profession. As nurses we have the opportunity to empower our patients and their families, connect with our patients and develop a trusting relationship. We also possess the power to bring understanding and peace during the hardest, confusing and challenging times. That is what makes this job rewarding and what compels me to come to work every day.”
Climbing the ladder: Registered practical nurse to manager of the COVID unit
Nick Millar is a clinical manager of the medicine, COVID, and cardiac care units at HHS’ Juravinski Hospital. He started his career as a registered practical nurse in the medicine unit at HHS in 2009 before moving to cardiac surgery as a registered nurse, then charge nurse, and eventually, clinical leader and clinical manager.
“I chose HHS due to the diversity of opportunities and areas open during the earlier years of my career,” he says. “I think of the patients and the staff that I support and this motivates me to do better.”
As manager, one of his units became the COVID-19 unit during the pandemic. “We support each other on the unknown and the team faces each challenge with courage and compassion.”
“I never know what I am going to walk into,” says new nurse working in ED
Before his current role as an emergency department nurse at Hamilton General Hospital, DiLabbio was working as a clinical extern while pursuing his studies. “The nervousness that developed before the first day was dissolved almost instantly from being greeted by extremely friendly staff who were willing to help,” he says. “It was an easy transition from extern to nurse (so far) from the support of others and the reassurance they provide.”
So far, he loves his job at Hamilton General Hospital.
“I have always enjoyed fast paced, critical thinking environments and HHS having a trauma center solidified the decision to pursue employment at this establishment, and specifically in this department,” he says. “I never know what I am going to walk into.”
“There is always more to learn” says nurse who dreams of working in the ICU
Selina Raud has been working as a nurse for almost three years as part of HHS’ Nursing Resource Team. The McMaster University student was hired through the Nursing Graduate Guarantee (NGG) program through of the Ontario Ministry of Health, a program designed to support nurses who are within 12 months of registering with the College of Nurses of Ontario by providing them with a full-time employment opportunity.
As part of the NRT, Raud gets to experience different areas of the hospital. Her final student nursing placement was in the intensive care unit at Hamilton General Hospital. “I knew I wanted to work towards working in the ICU, down the line.”
“I love my job because I get to make an impact every day for the better of others. I love that every day is a new day to meet new people and learn something from them,” she says.
“I would have told my younger self to take a deep breath, focus on everything you DO know, and do not feel embarrassed when asking questions with things you’re unsure about. You know more than you realize – trust in yourself, your abilities and your knowledge, but never stop asking questions. There is always more to learn.”