Rising to the occasion

Rising to the occasion MUHC

Daphné Savoie, a nurse at the Montreal Children's Hospital, says offering her support to the Saguenay was an opportunity to grow.

“You won't be surprised if I tell you that as a former student athlete, I thrive on challenges. When I was asked about going to Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean during the Holiday season, I immediately saw it as an opportunity to grow,” says Daphné proudly. “I knew my Christmas was going to be different this year - so why not make it really special, and for a good cause?”

Last December, the MUHC was looking for nurses, auxiliary nurses and PABs willing to provide support in the Chicoutimi and Jonquière regions for two weeks. At the time, these areas were experiencing an acute shortage of nursing staff due to a significant increase in the number of positive patients as well as a high number of quarantined or sick staff members. Compensation and special benefits were offered to those who volunteered.

“With my car filled to the brim, I drove to Roberval on a December morning,” says Daphné. “With my background as a pediatric nurse working in the recovery room, I was heading into an unknown world - to work in a CHSLD, in geriatric care, at the other end of the lifecycle!” Daphné realized that her work would be nothing like what she had done before.

“This adventure helped me see nursing in a different light,” says Daphné. “At the Children's, of course, we want our little ones to go home healthy. However, a CHSLD is a home! This is where I first came into contact with death. It was a shock, but I understood that it can be peaceful and even beautiful.”

Her stay in the Saguenay made her realize the level of responsibility of a clinical nurse: “Yes, a nurse in a CHSLD must be autonomous and participate in management, among many other things. So, I developed my management skills, an area I find challenging. As assistant to the head nurse, I had to show leadership with my team of auxiliary nurses (truly superheroes!), and also about 20 PABs, who were my eyes and ears in the field,” says Daphné. “I am infinitely grateful for my nursing colleagues and all the wonderful staff who supported, guided, and reassured me both in Roberval and in Montreal!”

In addition to her new experiences, Daphné also took advantage of her stay to visit this beautiful part of the country for the first time in her life. “Yes, I was able to taste the famous tourtière du Lac (a typical meat pie of the area),” she says with a smile. “But I also had experiences that made me laugh, cry, and grow. Above all, I met extraordinary patients and colleagues. Perhaps the pandemic is not all bad.”