Elizabeth Daos’ journey as a registered nurse (RN) has followed a long and winding path. Born in the Philippines, Daos is an Internationally Educated Nurse (IEN) who achieved her nursing degree and later her Master’s degree in her home country. However, it would be five years after she arrived in Canada before she became licensed to practice here. Daos settled in Port McNeill with several members of her family, first working as a private caregiver, then as a care aid with Island Health, before finishing a one-year IEN re-entry program Kwantlen Polytechnic University and joining the care team at Port McNeill Hospital (PMH) as an RN in 2019.
“When I was hired at Port McNeill Hospital, I was part of Island Health’s new grad program,” she said. “After doing some of my clinical rotations at large hospitals in Burnaby, Surrey and Langley, it was comforting to work in a place with fewer patients where there is always room for continuing education. When courses are available, we are encouraged to take them.”
Daos works with Danielle Lloyd, a nursing assistant at PMH. The two love their roles within a larger care team of staff from numerous departments within the hospital, working closely with one another for the benefit of their patients.
“We all have a voice, we all check in and listen to one another. We have developed this incredible flow,” said Lloyd. “We have relied on one another through some intense times. We really care about each other.”
“In the Philippines there is a hierarchy within the hospital, but I don’t feel that here – I feel like I am part of a team and everyone is equal,” said Daos. “Further, whenever challenges arise, our nurse lead, Eric Head-Chen is very approachable. He listens to us and does his best to accommodate our needs.”
Elizabeth Daos, RN, and Danielle Lloyd, nursing assistant in front of Port McNeill Hospital
One of the most unique aspects of nursing at PMH is the opportunity to work in both acute care and in the emergency department (ED). Nurses take turns caring for patients on the floor, and rotating through the ED.
“It helps us to broaden our skills and all of our physicians are so great to work with and learn from. Two new physicians were added to our team last year and it helped a lot with the workflow at the hospital,” said Daos.
As a nursing assistant, Danielle Lloyd enjoys helping out in all areas of the hospital.
“I’m involved in so many departments, helping x-ray, helping physio. We are such a tight team,” said Lloyd. “For example, I know Randy in the x-ray department and might be assisting him, but I’ll also know the patient getting the x-ray because I have been caring for them all week. Sometimes, a nurse will walk by as I am unloading some supplies and they’ll give me a hand, or I’ll make my way through the ED and just say “hey, I’m here if you need me.”
While being a front-line healthcare provider during the COVID-19 pandemic was not easy, the PMH team rallied to support one another and get through their most challenging moments together.
“It was scary. I remember when I got my first COVID patient, I was so nervous,” said Daos. “But we are well trained, well equipped and had the necessary skills to keep ourselves and our patients as safe as possible.”
Something that both Daos and Lloyd are grateful for is the addition of Protections Services Officers (PSOs) to the PMH care team. Well trained in de-escalation techniques and culturally safe, trauma-informed care, PSOs support safe and secure environments for Island Health staff, patients and visitors.
“They are such an important part of our team, here to support us,” said Daos. “I feel safer and more comfortable having them around.”
“It really makes such a difference having them here. Their presence is invaluable,” said Lloyd.
As members of a small but mighty team, Daos and Lloyd value so many things about living and working in a close-knit rural area.
“It’s a great place to be – there might be some people who think you need to start in a bigger hospital and then transfer to a rural hospital once you have more experience, but I disagree,” said Daos. “Here, we have the opportunity to continuously learn from one another and develop rich relationships with our co-workers and our patients.”
“I love the quiet and the simplicity of North Vancouver Island life,” said Lloyd. “You have your family at home and then you go to work to be with your other family. It’s nice to know your co-workers, check in and hang out after work!”
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