Justyna Kolasa submitted 2020-10-18

My journey with health and emergency medical care surfaced in my teenage years, where I received my first CPR certification as a pool lifeguard. Additionally, both my grandparents suddenly died, and I was not able to help them. This experience motivated me to find a way to learn how to take care of palliative patients and those with acute conditions. Thus, here in my youth, I became aware of a growing interest in the health care profession and more specifically, a desire to pursue studies in the field of nursing.

My arrival from Poland to Canada in 2016 was a tremendous undertaking and considerable change in my life. In Poland, I enrolled in a nursing program at a Medical University. I was nervous at first with the idea of providing direct life-saving techniques to a patient; however, instead of avoiding this fear and accompanying feelings and associated thoughts, I began to practice seeing and walking myself through multiple scenarios of how to deliver first aid when needed. Through this practice, I wanted to ensure that I would never panic by developing and training myself to possess a mental preparedness for situations Requiring Life Support techniques. I found myself spending at least 10 minutes a day meditating, relaxing, and disciplining my thoughts and mind to remain clear, which enabled me to become more comfortable and confident with the thought of delivering emergency care.

Additionally, my curiosity led me to do research by asking the public about their awareness of emergency management, where I discovered that many adults were uncertain about the Basic Life Support techniques. Seeing the need to increase public awareness in this area, I created an Instagram account dedicated to Emergency Life Support from the perspective of a nursing student.

Once in Canada, I obtained a national lifeguard certification with the Lifesaving Society, coupled with Standard First Aid and CPR level C. Soon after, I enrolled in the Practical Nursing program at Durham College in 2019 and completed CPR-C with AED training by Lifesaver101. While in the program, I received a BLS training with Heart & Stroke, and I continue to keep this training and skill set up-to-date. My passion continued to grow for the medical domain, specifically in concepts relating to the holistic care of people who require acute medical attention. More than ever, I have a growing desire to pursue my education in nursing and to enroll in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program at the Ontario Tech University next year. Through this discipline of study, I hope to not only actively care for those in need by joining an amazing people who give sacrificially to others, but as well, to one day give knowledgeable advice, mentoring, and sharing with others who will later enter the nursing profession.

Currently, my work as a Personal Support Worker is at an in-home care facility for seniors, where I am regularly exposed to many sudden emergencies requiring immediate interventions. I am grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the nurses on staff. I have learned critical thinking skills, basic methods needed to help save lives, such as “SRC” (Safety, Response and Call 9-1-1) and “ABC” (Airway, Breathing, and Circulation) as well as the simple ratio 30:2 (30 compressions and 2 breaths), which will assist anyone in performing CPR more effectively. Thus, as a caregiver and nursing student, I am committed to being prepared for potential incidents requiring the performance of CPR.

February 2020 provided me with an opportunity to participate in a multi-disciplinary experimental emergency simulation exercise at the Oshawa Durham College Campus. Here, a mock mass casualty incident named “Project Lord Ridgeback” allowed students to put the skills which they have learned into action. This event provided me with beneficial experience and an increased understanding of interprofessional collaboration between members of various healthcare teams. I found this to contribute to my development and stamina as a healthcare professional being able to perform lifesaving techniques, where maintaining the accurate patency of the airway, quality of breathing pattern, and blood circulation is a priority. This event is an amazing opportunity to be seized by all who desire to enter the health care profession.

I have come to discover that another aspect in preparing physically for engaging in any potential life-saving actions includes an appreciation for documentation. Efficient reporting to other nursing team members one is working with as well as ensuring those coming onto the next shift receive the relevant information regarding the assigned patients is significant. In this administrative area, I would seek to familiarize myself with a patient’s past and current medical history, collect subjective data, and perform a physical assessment. By knowing the background and potential risk factors of a patient, I can be better prepared if a life-threatening incident occurs. Moreover, every patient requires an individualized approach from health care professionals. To accomplish this, as a future practical nurse, I will carefully follow the plan-of-care for the patient based on their medical status, diagnosis, and doctor’s orders. Additionally, I would make sure that all necessary equipment such as oxygen, air, and suction regulators are working, and that the call bell is within reach in case of emergency situations.

Today, I believe I have found the profession that is the culmination of many life influences and experiences that have shaped my passion, desires, and aspirations to be able to help patients in any condition. I am committed and ready to perform resuscitative techniques providing chest compressions and adequate ventilation when emergency medical care is required.

If there is one piece of advice that I may offer to others who are beginning their journey in nursing, it would be this: Educate yourself continually, stay calm, and accept the fact that nursing is a rewarding, fulfilling and life-long learning profession. The role of a nursing student is to prepare oneself, continue to acquire knowledge and ask many questions. If you have a desire to become a nurse, use that passion and remind yourself that you are good enough to be a lifesaver. The more you read, practice and repeat, the more confident and knowledgeable you will become.