When I started at North York General Hospital (NYGH) as a nurse 50 years ago, I never imagined that the hospital would become such a large and treasured part of my life, which continues to this day.
I knew I wanted to be a nurse from a young age. I was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland and when I was 17 years old my beloved aunt fell ill with tuberculosis at a time where there was a shortage of nurses. It was so troubling to know that she and many others couldn’t get the help they needed, and I made a decision then to become a nurse myself.
While still in Scotland, a recruiter came to hire nurses and offered a chance to work in Canada. I decided to give it a try, thinking I would only be there for a few years. I’ve made North York my home ever since.
I started at NYGH a couple of years after it first opened in 1968, working in different departments before I eventually got hired in the Labour & Delivery Unit. I’ll always think of the hospital as a very happy and friendly place to work, and I loved helping people. I still remember many of the staff and made some great friends, many of whom I still hear from today.
The hospital was also in a very convenient location for me. I lived close by and could get there in 11.5 minutes flat for an emergency c-section if needed! I retired in 1997 at 67 years old after almost 30 years at NYGH. In that time, I helped deliver hundreds of babies, and each time I would still be reminded of the miracle of life.
The hospital has special significance to me for other reasons too. My twin daughters were born at the former Branson site, and all three of my children grew into adults during my time at the hospital. I had both of my knees replaced at the hospital when they were damaged from years of playing soccer. And NYGH was the place where I received my diagnosis of ALS six years ago.
Now, I’m part of the hospital’s Geriatric Supportive Care Outreach Program, (funded by Dr. Edwin Leong and The Slaight Foundation), where a nurse practitioner provides me with care directly in my home. North York General was part of my life for so long, and it’s comforting to once again be connected to it through this program.
At 91 years old, I’m so proud to have been a member of the NYGH family for so long, to have grown with the hospital, and to have helped others as they grew their own families.
This Nurses Week, I’m sending my very best wishes to all the nurses at NYGH — past and present — who make it the great place that it is and will continue to be.