"You have to have both the science and the art of nursing" to be strong in the profession.
In May 2020, during the COVID19 pandemic, I spoke with Meg Pickersgill, a Registered Nurse. Watch our video conversation here.
In Meg's words:
I completed my first undergraduate degree at McGill, a Bachelor of Science in Anatomy and Cell Biology. After working in research for a year and realizing it wasn't for me, I decided to backpack around the world for a year. When I came back, I started working as an instructor therapist with children with autism, but didn't see many opportunities for growth in this field, so I pivoted and decided to pursue nursing. One of the things that appealed to me about nursing was the diversity of career options. I completed the accelerated 2 year Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Toronto and began my nursing career in the Trauma/Neurosurgery at St. Michael's Hospital. While I loved the high acuity of patient population and the fast-paced environment, I was interested in following patients long-term. I found an opportunity as a community health nurse at Surrey Place, an organization that provides services to children and adults with developmental disabilities.
My role at Surrey Place involves working with children with developmental disabilities and challenging behaviours, consulting on medical issues, helping run medication trials, and working in an interdisciplinary team to provide wraparound care to children and families. I also work in a clinic to help transition-aged youth move from the pediatric system to the adult system. In addition to my clinical work, I teach lectures and help develop curriculum for nursing and MD programs, teaching skills healthcare providers need to care for this unique population. I love that nursing combines science with compassion and caring.
Nursing is also very flexible, and this flexibility has given me the opportunity to continue to travel - so far, I've been to 47 countries!
Meg has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Anatomy and Cell Biology, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Honours), and is a candidate for Masters of Nursing, University of Toronto 2022.
For more information:
Here are some highlights from our conversation:
What are night shifts like?
"your body just adapts;
you get used to it."
What would you tell young people about finding a career direction?
"it’s okay to not know what you want to do;
there’s a lot of pressure on young students to find a pathway and go for it;
it's very valuable to try different things;
reach out to people; (to learn more about jobs)
you have time…."
What are important skills for nursing?
"you have to have both the science and the art of nursing: a solid foundation in the health sciences, strong critical thinking skills, good time management, and the ability to prioritize;
but also you need to have the soft skills. Nurses are compassionate.
A lot of patience is important.
and, a good sense of humour."
“Nurses deal with a range of emotions from the people they’re working with. It’s good to be able to take that in stride, and understand where people are coming from, without taking it too personally ."
What would you tell your younger self?
"it’s gonna be okay;
try different things for my career but also for my personal growth." ( ie year of travel)
Thank you Meg! Your tips are useful and we are listening. Best wishes as you continue your educational journey, pursuing your Masters degree.
This interview was taped during the COVID19 pandemic, in May 2020.