Nursing Week Profile: Graduate Student Ramata Tarawally
Masters in Nursing in Health Leadership and Systems at Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, graduating June 2018
Associate Director of Community Wellness, Trinity College at U of T
Current town: Toronto
Why did you want to become a nurse?
When I was between my 3rd and 4th year pursuing my first undergraduate degree, I wasn’t sure yet what kind of work I wanted to do. I had an interest in health care and volunteered with students. I grew up learning about my mom’s work as a Nurse Practitioner, and I eventually decided I wanted to be a bedside nurse in a hospital.
What was/is the most valuable lesson — inside or outside the classroom — you learned as a student the University of Toronto?
How to be a critical thinker; both for my BScN and now in my Masters program. I’ve learned that being a good nurse means looking at what is being asked of you and then considering the patient – what their life is about, what their situation is, and learning to advocate for the patient. Being a good nurse requires critical thinking to look at the patient holistically, determining what kind of care they need, and advocating for them.
After I graduated with my BScN, I worked at St. Michael’s Hospital in internal medicine. Half of our patients were homeless or had mental health issues; many were frail and elderly. The bulk of these individuals were people who may not have had advocates – our job as their care providers was to advocate for them and determine what they needed from us as not just patients but individuals, and then do it for them. Sometimes this even meant doing their laundry.
What is your favourite thing about nursing?
Learning people’s stories. My current job gives me the chance to hear what’s going on in people’s lives. The connections I make with people and seeing them beyond just their diagnosis or struggles is my favourite thing about nursing.
Who is your favourite Bloomberg Nursing professor?
In the Undergraduate program, it was Maureen Barry. She is so kind and thoughtful and incredibly smart.
While pursuing my Masters — Mike Villeneuve. He’s very kind and thoughtful but also a powerhouse and someone who takes the time to really connect.
What is the best thing about your job:
My current job – I really enjoy working with youth. I enjoy the nature of working with people who don’t necessarily have a clinical mental health issue but are struggling – helping them as they work through the sometimes difficult transition from high school and adolescence to becoming an adult. The connections I make with people — that’s one of my favourite parts of this job. I love hearing people’s stories and watching them grow into who they are.
When you work in a hospital setting, the people you are treating are already sick – it is a reactive situation. In my current line of work, I’m able to work with people who may not yet be sick but are struggling through something – I can connect them to resources they either currently need or may need in the future in a more proactive way.
Favourite song: “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
How do you plan to celebrate nursing week?
I’m going to get my free Cinnabon; they offer them free to nurses throughout Nursing Week. I’m the only nurse who works in my department at work, so they’ll likely acknowledge it for me in some way.