Some of the most rewarding jobs out there are in the health and social services network. While some of us go to work in an office all day, people in this sector dedicate their lives to improving those of others. These are our nurses, psychologists, orderly, social worker and institutional pharmacists. We go to them when we're in need, yet we often overlook what they actually do and how important their jobs actually are.
Curious to find out more about what these incredible people actually do, I reached out to 7 health professionals to learn more about their jobs.
For most, their days are completely different since they all work with a multitude of patients who all have different needs. However, one thing is certainly clear: They love what they do and they're making a difference every day.
Here are 7 inspiring stories that make these workers real heros:
Stéphanie // 28 // Nurse clinician
"The situation I experienced took place in the emergency room. I received a new admission during a very busy period. A young girl with Tourette syndrome. She was admitted to the emergency room because her very acute vocal tics had become uncontrollable. The more nervous she was, the worse it got. What caused her nervousness was the way people looked at her. She also could not stand the side effects of antipsychotic drugs that might have helped.
As she had just arrived, her tics were very strong. We isolated her in a small room, but the sound was amplified by the echo of the room. She cried. I went to join her and I talked to her about something else while ignoring the tics completely. I welcomed the patient like everyone else with a normal conversation and jokes that were a bit cliché. She was surprised at first, then she relaxed. At the end of our conversation, she thanked me for not treating her as a "mentally ill." I told her that her "bobos", whether inside or outside, did not make a difference to me. When you are a nurse, you help people feel better. "
"I had a patient with incurable brain cancer, and he was almost paralyzed. He had just been admitted to palliative care. He was a handsome man who seemed to have always taken good care of his appearance. He told me that he had not washed his hair and that he did not feel well about it. As a nurse, it's not in my usual duties to wash hair and although I did not necessarily have the time, I washed his hair to make him feel better. He was so happy; He was crying of happiness just because of my little gesture... It really made me happy to have taken 5 minutes of my time to make him so happy. His wife even came to see me afterwards to thank me! It really touched me because for us nurses, washing hair isn’t a big deal, but for him it was a great gesture. This day helped me realize how important it is not to take "normal" things for granted. "
Caroline // 24 // Institutional Pharmacist
"I'm an institutional pharmacist. Very few people know that there are pharmacists working in hospitals, and even fewer people know what we do on a daily basis. Basically, we are there to ensure that the patients' drug therapy is safe and optimal. What makes me most proud of my work is when I see in patients' eyes that I made a difference or when they say, "Thank you for taking the time." I remember a young patient who was hospitalized for chemotherapy treatments for leukemia. At first he was reluctant when I went to see him; I understood why, he had to take 10 new pills every day, and I was the pharmacist ... the “Ms. Pills". But I took the time. The time to go talk to him every day, to explain the purpose of each medicine, to explain when and how to take them. I made him a schedule with specific times for when to take his medication. I talked with his doctor to try to find alternatives and make his treatment as simple and personalized as possible, with the least possible side effects. When this young patient left, he came to see me at my office to thank me. It's worth all the gold in the world to know that you have done something good for another human. And that's my daily life. "
Maude // 19 // Orderly
"I work with people with Alzheimer's disease who experience episodes of dementia. One of my patients who was very dear to me was very advanced in her illness. Sometimes she recognized me, but without remembering how we knew each other. In the evening, before she went to bed, I had to give her a partial cleaning and help her put on her pyjamas. To please her, I put on the song "J'attendrai" by Rina Ketty because it's a song that she often sang. Every night I would say "good night" by showing her sincere attention. She would hold my hand crying and tell me that she was lucky to have people like me. This little moment, which may seem trivial, was really special for me. "
Mélissa // 21 years old // Nurse
"I had a patient who was suffering from brain cancer and because she was often relapsing, she was always in surgery. I used to take care of her since she often returned to intensive care. She was young, the same age as me. Over time, I became attached to her and her family. One day, she came back to see me, fit, without any physical deficit and she was doing really well. The happiness it gave me was indescribable. However, a month later, I admitted her to the hospital and saw that her state of health had deteriorated greatly. Her family was in tears, and so was I.
This is not a happy story, eventually, the patient died. But I helped the family prepare for their grief. This was one of the most important moments in my profession. When a patient's mother hugs you, you realize the importance you have in patients' lives. Every day, I feel that this job does that for me. I feel so valued and it's all thanks to patients and their families. It's worth all the gold in the world. "
"I was working as an orderly, but I was also doing a nursing internship at the same time. I was assigned a woman in a CHSLD. I had to give her medicine, but also help her with her hygiene and daily activities. According to the information I had received, the lady had great difficulty walking and I had to use the hoist at all times to help her mobilize. After two weeks of training, the lady told me she really wanted to be able to walk again. Her family, who had initially taken care of her, lacked the resources to adequately help her at this level. I talked to my teacher, and with the supervisor's consent, we were able to provide her with mobility exercises to strengthen her legs. We even managed to help her get to the toilet by walking. She began to shout with joy, her eyes full of water. When I returned to this department, a few months later, the lady was still doing her exercises and she was walking with the aid of a walker alongside an employee. This type of situation has an enormous impact on my life and helps convince me that I have chosen the right field of study. "
"I work on a unit where we see various specialties: cardiac/renal and hepatic grafts, cardiac/cardiac surgery, several cases followed in gastroenterology, cases of pneumology (apnea, cystic fibrosis), nephrotic syndrome and several others. Most of our patients have a chronic illness that often requires several hospitalizations. We live inspiring stories every day and it is very rewarding as a job. I work with children and I find them wonderful. They do not see the world and diseases as adults see them and it's beautiful. As a nurse, I’ve witnessed several small miracles, such as accompanying a child before his/her transplant and then having the chance to see them after their operation, with almost no complications. It is wonderful to see them begin a new life with a new organ.
I play games: I sing songs to them, I listen to them talk about their love stories ... My favourite moment is without hesitation when a child tells you how much he appreciates you being his nurse and tells you that he loves you. "
Are you interested in a career in the health and social services network? Visit the Avenir en Santé site to see all the possible careers available to you.