published on
May 16, 2023

Shining a Light on Sara Fung this International Nurses Day

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Healthcare professionals

Happy International Nurses Day! 

Today we’re putting a spotlight on Sara Fung, a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing from Western University, and a Master's of Nursing from the University of Toronto. She's on the Research Advisory Board at the Conference Board of Canada, and is a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM).

Sara has been practicing as a registered nurse since 2007. Her expertise is in maternal child health, with clinical experience in obstetrics and the NICU. She has worked in both academic and community hospitals and home health as a bedside nurse, educator, advanced practice nurse and professional practice specialist. Sara's also a mother of two, a resume writer/interview coach, and a podcaster.

Sara is passionate about issues such as anti-racism, health equity, mental health, improving working conditions for nursing and helping nurses find their career paths in a profession with so many opportunities!

Why did you become a nurse?

I was always interested in biology and helping others, so you could say the interest was there from a young age. I spent a year volunteering in a hospital in high school, and I really enjoyed making a difference in people’s lives. My mom and aunt were nurses, so it runs in my family.

How long have you been a nurse?

I've been a nurse for 16 years.

What does being a nurse mean to you?

It means so many things: helping people who are suffering, being there for their best and worst days, using critical thinking to problem solve complex situations, advocating for patients and my fellow nurses, telling powerful stories, and using my voice as a platform to amplify important messages.

Can you share an impactful story or experience from your time as a nurse?

I used to teach prenatal classes and we emphasized the use of different positions and relaxation methods to facilitate a natural birth. One day several years later, while I was helping a patient on the postpartum unit, I heard a voice call my name on the other side of the curtain.

It turned out to be one of the mothers I taught in my prenatal class, having her second baby! She said she ended up having natural childbirths for both after using what she learned from me. It's always nice for nurses to get updates from patients because after they leave we usually don’t hear from them again. 

You are part of many patients' memories for a lifetime as a nurse. It’s an honour and a privilege.

What’s the most challenging part of being a nurse?

You have to compartmentalize a lot of your difficult experiences. For example, I used to look after mothers who had stillbirths and then I'd have to go to my next patient who had a perfectly healthy baby. Once you've gone home, it’s difficult to explain your day to anyone who isn’t in the same profession because it’s hard for them to understand what you've been through.

These days, working in a constant state of unsafe conditions and burnout is especially challenging when it seems like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Nurses really need government support when it comes to more resources and safer working conditions.

What does the flexibility to work when and where you want mean to you?

It means having control of my life! When I worked shift work, my schedule ran my life. My friends and family could not understand why I was not able to make it to social events and why I was constantly switching my shifts. They would ask if I could I could switch shifts to attend a baby shower or a wedding, and I would tell them no, it doesn’t matter to the organization. It’s all about seniority. I also never got enough sleep when I worked at night and I would feel like a zombie. 

What do you think the future of nursing looks like?

We need to take a look at other industries and how they have evolved. Healthcare is notorious for being slow to adapt, which is a shame because people’s lives are literally on the line. 

We need to give nurses control, flexibility, respect and most importantly, we need to listen to what they are saying. We need to reward nurses with incentives. 

I think the future of nursing will continue to diversify, and with the skills that nurses have, the possibilities are endless. We just need to be given the chance to show what we can do!

If you're a healthcare professional looking for flexible shifts with an easy-to-use app, check out Florence. We're the better way for RNs, RPNs and PSWs to find work.

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