Hello my name is Pat Fougere and I’m a Facility Supervisor at Northwood at the Harbour.
Often the choices we make in life are influenced by our past and present experiences. My grandfather was 70 years old and had lived through the First World War, the Halifax Explosion and the loss of his wife to stroke, when he came to live with us.
I recall seeing him one day walking down the road, dressed in his business suit and carrying a briefcase. I was young but intuitive enough to know this was unusual. I ran after him and asked where he was going, to which he replied, “To work at the bank.” I remember telling him he didn’t work at the bank anymore and I will never forget the look of dejection and despair in his eyes. I took his hand and walked back to our home. Shortly after that, my grandfather was placed in the Nova Scotia Hospital and diagnosed with ‘Dementia’. He died two years later.
My mother was also widowed at a young age when my father passed away the year before my grandfather. Even though I was only six at the time, I decided I wanted to become a nurse or a doctor to help prevent such untimely deaths and tragic endings.
My mother raised my siblings and me to become strong, independent thinkers. I graduated from Dalhousie University in 1975 with my Bachelor Degree in Nursing, and remember touring Northwood as a student. Because of my grandfather’s experience, I realized then what great compassion and understanding Edward Roach had when he established the first nursing home in Nova Scotia.
After graduation, I spent two years working at the Abbey Lane Hospital, and then took a maternity leave for the birth of my son. Next I travelled west to Fort McMurray with my husband and while there, worked at Fort McMurray Regional Hospital. I had many different opportunities during that time which gave me a well-rounded clinical background.
In 1982, we returned to Nova Scotia and I spent several years working in home care before coming to Northwood in April 1989. I was hired as an RN evening float, but also worked as a night supervisor before moving into my current role. I work with a great team of nurses, including many wonderful immigrant nurses who bring new skills, insights and cultural diversity to Northwood. We work as a team to ensure the residents’ needs are met, and we depend on wonderful CCAs to report any changes in their health.
I love my job and feel proud to work for an organization whose model of care puts the residents at the centre with the various disciplines revolving around their needs. We all need to care and show compassion, and if I can bring a little happiness to a resident, that’s what truly matters.
My life outside of work is blessed as well, and includes two wonderful children, Russell and Amy, as well as three grandchildren. I also enjoy gardening, going for walks, swimming and visiting different places in Nova Scotia.