I am studying for my PhD degree at McMaster University. As a child I was very fascinated by medicine because my brother was born with a physical disability. We spent a lot of time in children’s hospitals, and I was in awe of nurses and others who were completing ‘secret’ important work.
I entered nursing because I felt I had a calling to care for others, and I was in search of an adrenaline rush! My career has been spent in the Neurotrauma Intensive Care Unit at a busy Hamilton hospital. I love my clinical work because each patient and family is different, and I work with an amazing team of staff. Over time however, I became burnt out from caring for people with devastating injuries. I decided to return to graduate school when my children were of school-age, to focus on providing a palliative approach to patients and families.
While in school I completed a clinical placement in a support group for families of persons with dementia at end-of-life. I was amazed by their resilience, their burden, and their high level of unmet needs. Since then my research has focused on supporting the mental health of family caregivers experiencing loss in dementia. I am extremely passionate about developing tools and interventions to support family caregivers. I am also passionate about infusing more education around palliative care, dementia and mental health into nursing education to improve nursing practice.
I am extremely appreciative of the Lundbeck Mental Health Nursing award.