November's Nurse of the Month: Donna Wishnowski (she/her), RN, Clinical Resource Nurse

From the unpredictable to the everyday, Donna Wishnowski gets to experience it all in her role as a Clinical Resource Nurse.

“I've always enjoyed looking after patients. I kind of gravitated to this leadership type of role but I always wanted to stay where I was working with patients,” says Donna. “I like to be where I'm interacting, looking after people, and making sure that when they're in their vulnerable time that they are getting what they need. I love that.”

For 20 years she worked in a specialty unit with unlimited resources, so it was a big learning curve when she moved to a rural setting. Here nurses wear multiple hats as ER, medical, palliative, and long-term care nurses - all rolled into one! Despite the challenges of limited resources, she says she wouldn't trade this career for anything and continues to be amazed by the resilience and compassion of rural nurses everywhere.

“With everything that's happening in health care now, I can't still imagine myself doing something else.” Donna explains. “Being a nurse, it's like who you are, it becomes part of your identity.”

The most rewarding part of being a nurse for Donna? Helping others in the community and being a part of a profession that makes a difference in people's lives.

“I've worked with many fantastic doctors and nurses through the years, but one thing that will always stick out for me is all of the ‘thank yous’ from the patients,” remembers Donna. “That’s the most rewarding thing to me, to know that you've actually made a difference and that's why we do this.”

“I think that I always try and remember what we're really here for. We're here for the patient, and their family and we're here to support them and make sure that they have the best outcomes that they can,” she says. “On those days when you're really feeling frustrated, just try and think of that and remember why you chose to do this in the first place.”

Nursing can certainly be tough - it's an emotionally and physically demanding job. But it's also one of the most rewarding professions. To all the nurses and especially new nurses out there, Donna has some advice:

“You know when I think of how much things have changed through the years that I've been working, I think of when I started and I had so many like senior nurses that were mentors to me and I learned so much,” she says. “So, I would say find people that are willing to teach you, grab on to that.”

Believing in the power of collaboration and teamwork, and never losing sight of your true purpose as a nurse, are some of the ways Donna has stayed dedicated to the profession.

“It's really easy to get lost in all of the changes that are going on right now and the staffing issues, or negativity, so I keep reminding myself, why am i doing this? Why am I still here? Because people need you. When they're sick, they deserve somebody that cares and that will help them through it.”