Health care was for me. That's what I thought initially anyway. I loved biology and chemistry, science really. Health care seemed like a good match because I also liked working with people. Why not sick people? To check out that possibility, I joined the candy striper program at Grace Hospital in St. John's, Newfoundland, did the training and volunteered on weekends.
One of my first placements was dermatology which should not be too stressful for a young person. However such was not the case. I entered a room where the patient was a Russian sailor, a man who was burned on a ship off the coast of Newfoundland and brought to St. John's for treatment. The poor man was bandaged from head to foot. I remember standing in the room, feeling helpless. I left the room and the floor and went home. I was wary of any assignment I was given after that occasion and happy when the year ended.
I learned through that program that I could not work, in any capacity, with people who were hurting physically. It was a valuable lesson for someone who considered nursing or medicine as career possibilities.
Years later, our family lived in Grand Falls-Windsor and our daughter, Claire, went to her first hockey game with her friends. Rick and I listened to the game on the radio. Part way through the game the announcer said, "And there goes the puck into the stands. Oh...it looks like someone has been hit...a young girl maybe."
Rick and I looked at each other and said simultaneously, "That's Claire!"
Sure enough, about fifteen minutes later, hospital staff phoned; Claire was hit in the forehead and required stitches. We went immediately to the hospital where our family doctor waited for us before stitching up Claire's head. When we went into the treatment room, Claire, forehead gashed open, pale, was stretched on a bed. The doctor started to sew up her forehead and I had to leave or hit the floor because my knees got weak. Rick, steady as always, stayed and held Claire's hand.
Exposure to occupations which may interest young people is a great way to narrow down areas of career interest and save time and money in education and training. The hospital volunteer program helped me learn what to avoid. The quest for my career path started with a science degree however, a good beginning to my journey.