The concept of a long-term care or retirement home is not a common idea in India, where Rohini Ram is from. The common culture across the country is that family members take care of their elders, so when she came to Canada in 2018, she’d only had a faint idea of what a “nursing home” might be like.
Rohini is a natural caregiver, though. She was drawn to nursing back home and thrived in acute care hospital settings before she stepped away from direct patient support to work in administration as a Director of Care. It was a position she held until the time she chose to move to Canada to carve a new path in life.
Rohini was working alongside HCC residents
during Halloween celebrations. She says she loves
working with residents and has learned about
Canadian culture through them.
She settled in Hamilton and began looking towards her certification in Ontario. She took a post-graduate nursing course in palliative care management and another in nursing leadership and management. In mid-2020 after the escalation of the COVID-19 crisis bore down on communities throughout the world, Rohini wanted to help.
She answered the call for support at Hamilton Continuing Care, a small, closely-knit home with 64 beds and a long-standing group of team members who care deeply for the residents they serve.
As a resident support partner, Rohini quickly fit right in and her experience and her compassionate approach to the service of others proved worthwhile almost immediately after she joined the team, when the home experienced its first COVID-19 outbreak in the late fall of 2020.
“She is one of the most compassionate, caring team members and, during a state of emergency, she stepped up flawlessly, supporting through an outbreak situation,” says HCC General Manager Kelly Younger. “She is fearless.”
Rohini’s seamless entry into the HCC community, her quick grasp of the nuances of care and support for long-term care residents, and her strong work ethic proved valuable elsewhere in the Schlegel Villages organization when Rohini volunteered to support The Village at St. Clair in Windsor during a serious COVID-19 outbreak that strained team immensely in early 2021.
“Rohini worked as if she’d been here as long as the other team members who have been here for 25 years or longer,” Kelly says, a quiver of emotional pride in her voice, “and then she honoured our organization and our residents by going to another Village she never knew, far away from her home, and she helped for two months.”
Rohini is humble as she reflects on the experience at St. Clair, pointing to her time there as an opportunity to learn, and she says she applies that education into her ongoing work to this day.
“This was life-changing,” says Rohini, who is now certified as a Personal Support Worker “and it’s a good experience because I love working with the residents. They have accepted me and this is a home environment and that is what I find is wonderful.
“I also know that if I say something, my voice is being heard.”
She says she has learned much about Canadian culture through her connections with residents and she feels like part of a family. She looks forward to the time when COVID-19 and the restrictions it places upon long-term care and retirement communities are in the past, and she looks forward to being a registered nurse at Hamilton Continuing Care.
In mid-January, the province announced that it’s working with Ontario Health and the College of Nurses of Ontario to capitalize on the wealth of knowledge and experience internationally-educated nurses offer, aiming to deploy them to a variety of healthcare settings to meet urgent demands.
Kelly, who also has a nursing background, sees in Rohini the great success that can come when internationally-educated clinicians are welcomed into a system that desperately needs them after two draining years of pandemic support. For her part, Rohini sees in long-term care a connection with residents she never expected, and one that can’t be found in an acute care setting.
She found meaning, connection, and a hopeful future with Schlegel Villages.
There are opportunities within all 19 Schlegel Villages across Ontario for people of all experience, including internationally-educated nurses. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to learn more, or visit this page to learn about all opportunities within the Schlegel Villages family.