Devon Gale submitted 2020-10-27

My submission will involve the experiences of three people: my mother in law, my father, and myself. Life-saving courses are an unfortunately underrated tool, and you do not realize just how much of an impact they genuinely make in the lives of yourself and the people around you. My mother in law attempted suicide and was saved by the paramedics and health care providers who knew ACLS. My father is a rapid response nurse who reminds me that life is precious and seconds matter in an emergency. I am a nursing student who, after working in politics on Parliament Hill,realized the importance of a fulfilling career in medicine.

When I had joined my boyfriend’s family, I saw my mother in law as a person with so much love to give. Born in Germany, she moved here at the age of 24, leaving behind her entire family to pursue a life in Canada. It was not until I received a call saying that she had gone missing that I saw her joyful façade crack. Slowly the truth came out from different members of the family. For the past 16 years, she has had a gambling and spending addiction, she had been taking medication for her mental health but had recently stopped, and she had accrued over 100k in credit card debt. It turns out that she had driven an hour away from our city, parked her car, and slit her wrists. Somewhere within that timeline, she had called emergency services. Luckily, they were able to reach her in time. The emergency medical team was able to keep her calm, perform life-saving trauma techniques, and use their advanced life-saving tactics to keep her alive. Without them, she would not be with us today.

At the age of thirty-five, my father decided that he was done with his job working as a fence-builder. Knowing that he had a family to provide for, he decided to take a massive risk and return to school to become a Registered Nurse. Upon graduation, he started on a Medical-Surgical floor. He loved it. He was finally in a rewarding career, he talked passionately about his day, and he relished that he made a difference in the lives of his patients. This passion even won him The Daisy Award for Nursing Excellence. However, he still felt like there was something missing from his career. He would see the Rapid Response Teams and be in awe of their talent. They could assess what needed to be done within seconds, and everything that they did looked like a carefully orchestrated scene. After ten years of practicing as a floor nurse, he finally had the opportunity to move into a Rapid Response Nurse position, and he was finally in his element. The work was hard, but the training was even harder. He would come home from work and study ACLS and PALS for hours on end, and it seemed like the work never stopped. Yet the best part was that even after the hours of studying, the patients that did not make it, and the stressful job expectations, he still had a smile on his face because he knew how important his skills were.

At the age of twenty-one, I had successfully started a career as a political aid on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. It was the equivalent of working at Disneyland for me. After not having received acceptance to nursing school upon high school graduation, I went with my second option, a Liberal Arts degree in History and Political Science. My four years spent in this degree were a whirlwind of a pure passion for academia, which led me to working in Parliament. My first few months on “The Hill” were incredible. Every night was an extravagant party, and every day felt like I was living in a TV political drama. However, the world of extravagance started to wane on me. After having moved up within the administration, I felt lost. There was no fulfillment from my job. In June of 2019, I decided to quit my dream job, move back home, and apply to nursing school again. After having been rejected the first time, I had lost that passion I had for medicine, but after seeing a job that is so far from the daily grind of working in healthcare, I knew I needed to get back to getting my BSN. Luckily, I was accepted and am now in my first year of Nursing school.

If it had not been for the suicide attempt by my mother in law or the passion that I saw in my dad when he came home from work, I might have never known the importance of advanced live-saving skills. I am confident that I want to be an Emergency Room Trauma nurse. I want to be there for people on their worst days. I want to know as much advanced life-saving information as I can to save as many people as I can. I want to know that someone did not lose their mother in law because I was part of the team that helped her recover. It has been a long journey, but I am beyond excited to become a Registered Nurse to advocate for the importance of courses like BLS, ACLS, and PALS.