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On any given day at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, trauma nurse Thao Sindall cares for some of Ontario’s sickest and most injured patients

Thao Sindall, a registered nurse and clinical care leader for Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s Tory Trauma Program, monitors a patient after administering an anesthetic.

Thao Sindall was only 17 years old when she had the heartbreaking experience that set her on a path to becoming a nurse. Her 20-year-old brother Zen was rushed to the trauma centre at St. Michael’s Hospital after a car accident. He was treated for his injuries in intensive care over the span of a week before he died with his mother and sister at his side.

Ms. Sindall said she remembers the care her brother received from the nurses in the ICU. “The nurses took care of him like he was their family member and that gave us a bit of solace, my mom and I, to go home, have a rest for the night, knowing that he’d be cared for,” she said.

“They washed him, they braided his hair, they made him look like a person and not just a patient, and I always wanted to do that for other people and that’s really what sparked the idea of nursing really sick people.”

Since 2005, Ms. Sindall has been a registered nurse at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, a large hospital complex in Toronto, with three campuses. Located in the campus in north Toronto, the Tory Trauma Program treats about 2,000 trauma patients each year. The program is the first to be accredited as a Level 1 trauma centre by the American College of Surgeons in Canada – and the first outside of the United States. That means Sunnybrook cares for some of the sickest and most injured patients in the province.

Nurses across the country have endured hardship over the past few years. Still, for Ms. Sindall, being able to care for people on the “worst day of their life,” is the part of the job she finds most rewarding.

The Globe and Mail followed Ms. Sindall on her 12-hour shift.

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