Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), Tami Walsh, says her favourite thing about her job is walking the halls of Providence Manor, busily helping residents with their daily needs. Tami’s step game is so good as a matter of fact, she goes through a pair of shoes about every eight months. After an expansive 43-year-long career, Tami will now hang up her estimated 65th pair of shoes.
“I was 18 and I still remember, my mother drove me here to Providence Manor for the interview because I didn’t have a car. My interview was actually held in what is the resident pub now. It is bitter-sweet retiring. Providence Manor has been my life for 43 years.”
It was 1980 when Tammy walked through the doors of Providence Manor. Blondie’s Call Me was number one on the music charts and Star Was Ep. V: The Empire Strikes Back was number one in theatres. Tami had just finished nursing school at St. Lawrence College when she became the newest member of the nursing team and says things were very different.
“When I was hired, Providence Manor was run then by the Sisters of course,” Tami explains. “I remember they told me I had the job on the spot and then they explained dress code and the importance of commitment and arriving on time. Dress code was white nursing shoes, white pantyhose, a white or pastel dress, and we also wore nursing caps then too.”
Tami has worked through ever changing health care systems, the transition of Providence Manor becoming a part of Providence Care, and of course the transition from paper and pen to computers.
“Everything was on paper,” says Tami. “You signed everything on paper. Charts were all on paper, you wrote all your charting out. Medication was administered from vials; we didn’t have blister packs or the strips the way we do now for administration. I definitely have seen a lot of change.”
Throughout her 43-years, one thing has remained constant, the fulfilling relationships Tami has developed with not only her team, but with the residents in her care. Tami says on many occasions she has had the pleasure of caring for multiple generations of the same family.
“I’ve met hundreds of residents and their families over the years. Some of them are the most outstanding and remarkable people I have ever met, and I still see so many people I’ve met in this career out in the community. And now, where I may have looked after a mother or father years ago, I now have the pleasure of caring for the next generation of loved ones within the same family. It’s pretty remarkable.”
For the last 25-years, Tami has been the team leader on the Montreal 3 resident home area. With her team, she is responsible for the mental, physical and spiritual care of 43 residents and administering all medications. She oversees the team while collaborating with and supporting the loved ones of the residents.
“The strength of the team that I work with on Montreal 3 is one of the big reasons I love my job so much. We have a remarkable team, and it takes every single person working really hard to develop and implement the individualized care plans. The needs of residents are a lot more complex, and the strength of our team is truly incredible.”
The feeling is mutual among Providence Manor staff about Tami as well. Assistant Director of Care, Angela Lamb says Tami will be deeply missed.
“Tami has dedicated her career to the people living here at Providence Manor and is a respected leader to the Montreal 3 team, always putting the resident’s first. She is professional and tough, never forgetting that it takes the whole team to provide the people living here with the best quality of life. Her career should be celebrated and she should know what a great loss it will be to Providence Manor after she is gone. We are all wishing Tami the best as she begins a well-deserved retirement.”
As she enters the next chapter of life, Tami will now be giving one hundred percent of herself to the family and life she created outside of her career. She will be joining her husband in retirement living and is looking forward to having more time to spend with her two adult children. She says lots of reading and relaxing is in her very near future as well as a trip to California with her daughter.
“When my daughter graduated from school, she stepped off the podium and we got on a flight to California. So she told me ‘Mom when you retire, we’re going back to California’, so we’re going! It’s my own version of graduation I suppose.”
As Tami reflects on the last 43 years, she says it has been a wonderful career.
“As tough as nursing is, it is also remarkable. It has been a wonderful time and has been so fulfilling. Every day I have learned something new, every day.”
Walking through the doors for the first time at 18-years-old, Tami will now walk out 43 years later after a lifetime of laughter and life lessons. Tami adds it’s not goodbye, rather see you soon, as she plans to explore what retuning as a volunteer might look like in a few years.
From everyone at Providence Care and your friends and colleagues at Providence Manor, congratulations on your expansive career and your well-earned retirement.