COMING FULL CIRCLE
Kadra Mahamed began her career at Sunnybrook as a co-op student while still in high school. She continued to work at the hospital while studying for an undergraduate degree in nursing and a master’s degree in education, and is now a nurse in the very same unit she worked in as a co-op student over a decade ago.
In my final year of high school I did a three-month co-op placement at Sunnybrook in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU). I was already interested in pursuing a career in health care, but that experience helped me decide to be a nurse.
Just as I was finishing my co-op placement, there was an opening for a patient service associate in the CVICU. I got the job, and worked part-time in that role for the next four years. Being able to work in the unit while pursuing my nursing degree was invaluable. Taking what I was learning in the classroom and seeing it put to work with patients really helped prepare me for my career.
Two years after graduation, I was hired as a nurse in the CVICU, the same unit where my health-care career had begun seven years earlier. Coming full circle was no accident; I worked hard and made choices throughout my education that would help lead me back to the CVICU. I’ve always really enjoyed working with the patient population in that unit. Helping them recover from heart surgery and seeing the progress they make is so rewarding.
The staff in the CVICU have known me since the beginning, and they’ve supported me so much over the years. I love working with them, and they are proud of what I’ve accomplished in my career. I’ve learned a lot from them.
My passion for learning has evolved into a passion for teaching. In addition to my job in the CVICU, I’m a clinical instructor at a local college, where I teach students in the Registered Practical Nurse program. Teachers, both in the classroom and in the hospital, were so important in helping me get where I am today. I’m excited to pass my knowledge along to the next generation of learners. – As told to Sybil Edmonds
THREE GENERATIONS, ONE DREAM
Dr. Stewart Wright is a third-generation orthopaedic surgeon at Sunnybrook’s Holland Orthopaedic & Arthritic Centre. He joined the staff in 1982 and is currently an assistant professor at the University of Toronto.
I remember being a kid going to hockey games at Maple Leaf Gardens with my father. We’d come back to the hospital here on Wellesley Street and enter through the back doors where the kitchen was. A lovely lady on staff would make us hot chocolate.
This hospital has been my second home. It’s been the family business forever and a day.
Granddad (Dr. C. Stewart Wright) dreamt of building a hospital that would be devoted solely to the care of people afflicted with orthopaedic and arthritic problems: from diagnosis to prevention, treatment and aftercare. He believed in the power of orthopaedic surgery before it was even considered a specialized discipline in Canada. In 1949, his dream was close to reality when the government granted him the charter to build the new hospital. Sadly, Granddad died just three years before his dream came to fruition.
My father (Dr. Charles S. Wright), who had just trained as an orthopaedic surgeon himself at the time, took the reins and, along with Dr. James Bateman, fulfilled the dream. They opened the hospital in 1955.
Father always treated the patients and staff as if they were family. He even started a tradition of dressing up as Santa Claus at the hospital’s holiday party, giving gifts to all the staff to show appreciation for the work they did every day. I carry on that tradition. It’s just what the Wright family does.
Today, the Holland Orthopaedic & Arthritic Centre is considered one of the centres of excellence for hip and knee replacements in Ontario. Our techniques are always advancing. Pain control has improved. Rehab protocols are much better. Patients are in and out a lot quicker. They are often so appreciative of the care they receive, they come back as volunteers. It makes me proud to know they believe in this place as much as I do.
If Father and Granddad could see the care we provide today, they’d be smiling. – As told to Katherine Nazimek
FROM TRAUMA NURSING TO POLICY
Described as “a living page of Sunnybrook history,” Anne Thomson, Sunnybrook employee of 42 years, retired in September 2013. Here, she speaks of myriad tales, firsts, spirituality and human connections.
When I first came here as a nurse in 1971, I thought I was going to work in intensive care. Turned out, it was really extended care. I was fairly new to the country and never heard the term before. Luckily, it turned out to be wonderful nursing care with the veterans.