This work stays with you, you don't leave your job behind

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“When a patient feels confident in what you’re doing with them – whether it be taking them to the lab, or giving them a wash – whenever they say, ‘I really appreciate what you’ve done for me today’ – that’s definitely the most satisfying part of my job.

I started in health care as a dietary aide in 1979. Our facility got unionized in 1981, and that’s when I joined HEU.

I worked as a health care aide in residential care from 1984 to 2014, and from then on, I’ve been a patient care aide/porter in an acute care facility, assigned to many different floors. 

Sometimes, I do patient care, and help with nursing needs. And other times, I’m portering patients to medical exams and procedures. 

Back in 1979, working in health care was just a paycheque at a time I really needed it. But then, I just stayed in the field. From that point on, I’ve never been one day without work. It’s been wonderful.

My husband was an HEU member right up until he retired in 2022. We both took the care aide course at the same time, and then we worked together the whole time. 

So, that’s been a really great part of my career. Because my husband and I were working together, we were able to coordinate our schedules and raise our family that way.

I’m very active in the union as a shop steward and secretary-treasurer. I’m also the OH&S rep at my local, so the pandemic was a really difficult time to work through.

I worked on the COVID ward for about eight months, and it was really hard seeing the families not be able to visit their loved ones.

To have these patients so sick and die, and some dying without any family there, it was a privilege for me to be there with them. Fortunately, there was some funding and iPads were purchased so we could arrange video calls with family members when there were lockdowns and visitor restrictions.

This work stays with you. It’s not like leaving the office and your job behind. With my husband also doing this work, we had an advantage because we have empathy for what one another does and we could relate to each other.”

- Julie, Care Aide, part of the health care team