From a very young age, Joyce Umoren dreamed of becoming a nurse. “What inspired me was the incredible attention and care I received from nurses when I was young,” she explains. She told her mother at age 6, “When I grow up I would like to be a nurse”. When the time was right, Joyce’s mother was supportive of her dreams, and guided her through the path of fulfilling her goals. Joyce trained as a nurse internationally. When she arrived in Canada in 2011, she needed to renew her nursing certification, so she started working for VHA as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) and studied part-time for her certification.
“I spent my spare time and my evenings in the library reading books and catching up on my studies,” she shares, “and during the day I would see my clients.” Joyce used VHA’s Work$mart program to assist with all of her studies. Work$mart is a VHA benefit that supports staff in their professional development by providing financial assistance for educational programs. “The Work$mart program and the financial assistance it provides have been really helpful for me.”
At VHA, Joyce’s journey continued to unfold. She passed her nursing exam and began working as a visiting nurse. Joyce then decided to apply for the position of Care Team Supervisor. “I was interested in the Supervisor position because I really like working with PSWs and I have been in their shoes,” Joyce explains. “I can give them insight on what works and what doesn’t.”
Joyce’s advice to the PSWs she works with is to assess the client at each visit, to respect their needs, and to understand their disease process. She notes, “It is important to know the client’s family and what the client expects from their care provider.” Joyce encourages her PSWs to fill out a client preference form. “When the regular PSW is not available, and a different PSW is filling in, they will be able to read the client’s preferences and immediately know their needs,” explains Joyce. “For example, they will know that Mrs. Smith likes to have a cup of tea after her shower. Imagine how happy Mrs. Smith will be when her new PSW offers her a cup of tea when she comes out of the shower.” Another tip Joyce suggests is spending the last few minutes of the visit asking the client, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” It could be little things such as bringing the remote control to the client or opening up the curtains. “A little gesture can mean a lot to the client!” adds Joyce.
Joyce’s journey at VHA is ongoing and she continues to learn and work to achieve more in her career. Here are three tips from Joyce for anyone looking to advance in their career:
1. Be passionate about your choice of career.
2. Set a goal and be determined to pursue it. Quitting should not be an option!
3. Take care of your health, stay focused and motivated.
To learn more about Joyce’s story, watch our video at: https://bit.ly/2p5sBdF.