Allison Hewitt, RN
Nurses connected to the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) share insights, knowledge and expertise about career opportunities, growth and development. Today we hear from Allison Hewitt.
I started my career on a transplant unit, then pediatric ortho, many years in the emergency department, and now community geriatrics where I do outreach.
What stage of your nursing career are you in?
What is your CNO registration class?
Which chapter do you belong to?
Region 10 - Ottawa.
What made you decide to choose nursing as a career path?
I worked at several summer camps catering to children with chronic and terminal illnesses. The nurses there inspired to me see that healthcare is built on trusting relationships, and it can be delivered in a variety of ways.
What made you choose your specialty in nursing?
My specialty is community geriatric outreach. I chose this specialty because I enjoy meeting people where they are at, gaining a more whole person awareness of my client when I am invited into their home. I enjoy the independence, creativity and complexity of this role.
What do you consider a challenge you’ve faced in your career? How did you overcome it?
While working in the ED the challenge was never being able to say no, as more and more clients were placed under my care.
In the community it has been finding my comfort zone with clients who choose to live with high levels risk, and “dignity of risk.”
I would not say that these challenges have been overcome; they are still a very real part of my practice. I would say, they are managed by honest dialogue with my colleagues and managers and even councilors. Having an understanding of everyone’s perspective.
What impact has RNAO had in shaping your career?
It’s nice to be part of a professional body that represents our needs and voices.
What advice would you offer a new nurse just beginning their career?
Find a mentor who you trust, don’t be scared to voice what you don’t know, and ask for support.
What is something that you wish you knew when you started your career?
I have in recent years learned about vicarious trauma, and I believe that I have experienced a fair amount of that as a nurse.
In school we learn we need to be the calm professional, supporting our clients in their healthcare journey. What we don’t learn is how to process our experiences after they have happened.
I wish I knew that you need to take time to process your feelings every shift. Nurses are part of some beautiful moments, but we are also often part of moments that are upsetting and devastating.
Learn more about RNAO and its members.