A Nurses Story

My name is Elise Tupper. I am a Registered Nurse currently working as the Clinical Nurse Educator for the Special Care Nursery at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert. I realized as a nursing student in my final practicum that there was something very special about this ward and hospital.

So much so, that without a job (and no intention of EVER moving back to Prince Albert), I packed up and moved back – with hopes to work in the Nursery someday.

It took a while, but eventually I lucked out and secured a position in the Nursery in 2008. Fast forward 10 years, and I am currently working as the Educator for nursing staff in the Nursery. This position allows me to support the wonderful nursing staff by providing education and developing policies in the best interest of our little patients. Within this supportive role, I have had the opportunity to observe the amazing things that occur in our tiny little ward with a new perspective.

I also have the privilege of being an extra set of hands in critical emergency situations. I have seen babies gravely ill – who with the help of our exceptional medical team have “turned the corner” and are now happy, healthy, and perfectly “normal”. Neonatal nursing is technical, exhausting (emotionally, mentally, and physically), heart-breaking at times, but so incredibly amazing.

While many things have changed over the past decade, some things have remained the same – the physical space of the unit and most of the equipment we are using. I have personally seen the nursery transform from a relatively quiet unit who stabilized ill babies prior to transport to NICU in Saskatoon – to an extremely cramped and busy room housing 10+ sick babies at a time. A unit where staff has no physical place to chart and complete their documentation…a unit where we sometimes literally “run out” of vital equipment and beds for these babies. And unfortunately at times, a unit where we must ask parents to “come back later” – as there literally isn’t room for them to be with their baby during a crisis.

To the credit of our staff and management, I have never seen these circumstances affect nursing care to a point where I have questioned patient safety. I am afraid that one day soon, that time will come. We are seeing more and more babies being born in our community – some of which have very complex medical needs. We have absolutely outgrown the physical space and equipment. We have been “making do” for far too long.

In 2016 I welcomed my own son at the Victoria Hospital. I cannot imagine trusting my care, or the care of my son to any other staff or facility. I was able to appreciate and enjoy the comfort of the Victoria Hospital Foundation’s “Victorian Room” for the first time as a patient. Being a mother has helped me to understand the journey of parenthood – and appreciate the difficulties families experience when their baby is sick.

I am so grateful that the Victoria Hospital Foundation has dedicated their support to our unit for this renovation. I am incredibly proud to call Prince Albert home – and am committed to support all staff to provide the best possible care for babies born in our Hospital. I have seen the stress and struggle which families experience when their baby is ill or being transferred with their new baby to an NICU in Regina or Saskatoon (or even out of province). It is my hope that we can continue to expand and grow the amazing work which we do here in our own community.

Please help us to have the resources that we, as nurses, need to provide the best possible care for babies born in Prince Albert.

Thank you,
Elise Tupper RN, BscN
Clinical Nurse Educator – Special Care Nursery