I am a nurse practitioner at the London Health Sciences Centre and a PhD Nursing candidate at the University of Alberta. Becoming a nurse seemed a natural move for me. As a child, I remember putting Band-Aids on the calluses of my dad’s hands and being the first to be there to look after sunburns. I was even more inspired to enter the field when I discovered that my boyfriend’s sisters were nurses; I, too, wanted to care for people and help them return to health. In 1980, I enrolled in the Fanshawe College, St. Thomas, Ontario campus program to earn a nursing diploma and be close to my future sister-in-law/nursing role model. Graduating at the young age of 20, I was caring for individuals in life and death situations.
I found my niche and true sense of ‘being’ a nurse when I entered the field of palliative care. It was incredibly rewarding to work with individuals and their families during a very difficult time in their lives knowing that, with the knowledge I had gained, I had the ability to make their end-of-life journey a little easier. I have carried these experiences forward in subsequent nursing positions. To me, the essence of nursing is the creation of meaningful caring connection, the ability to combine the art and science of nursing to enhance the health-illness experience of others. Now, through research, I feel very privileged to interview people about their experience of the quality of end-of-life care received by their advanced-age parents. As nurses, we can learn so much from the patient-family experience about ways to enhance care.