Nursing Week 2024: Interview with Jessica Render

Nursing Week 2024: Interview with Jessica Render

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During National Nursing Week, we’re celebrating the incredible nurses who play a pivotal role in the recovery process for patients and clients in our care. We spoke with Jessica Render to learn more about her experiences, challenges, and the profound impact of her work.

Happy nursing week Jessica Render

1. Why did you become a nurse, and what drove you to specialize in addictions care?

My dad and grandmother both passed from cancer and were in palliative care. The nurses there were amazing, and I knew I wanted to make a difference for people like they have made the impact on me. I never thought about pursuing a career in addiction, truthfully, I kind of just ended up in it.  That being said I am extremely grateful that it has fallen into my lap. I feel like it is where I am meant to be. It has helped me better understand the population and to be a voice for the ones who are pushed aside just because of the stigma behind it. Every chance I get, whether it be family, friends, other professional people, I educate them and am proud to do so. 

2. Can you share a memory from your time working at one of our treatment centres, in which you were able to make a real difference in a patient/client’s recovery?

One that comes to mind is when a patient was about to lose his job because of his substance abuse. He asked for my support in talking with his boss, so together we sat down with his boss, educated him on substance use and naloxone, leaving him more understanding. I completed a referral for a local treatment center, and his boss agreed to not only keep him employed but supported him financially.  Sometimes it is just the small things. The other day I was laughing with a patient and I said, “what would you do without me.” He stopped laughing, looked me in the eyes and said, “honestly, I would probably be in jail.” Now these are reasons why I love my job, it’s all about the little things. 

3. What do you find to be the most challenging and rewarding aspects of working in addiction treatment? What keeps you motivated through the challenges?

The most challenging thing about working in addiction treatment is the amount of struggle and loss we see daily. We build relationships, we see them more than we see our friends and family members. We celebrate holidays, birthdays, the ups, downs and everything in between. What keeps me motivated through the challenges is the people. The difference just a kind smile or a hello can make for people who use substances can make their day. Advocating for them and educating people to better understand addiction, reminding everyone that all walks of life struggle with addiction.

4. What is your approach to building strong relationships with people in your care, and why is it so important to do so?

I meet patients where they are at. I hear what they have to say, what they are going through, and together we come up with realistic plans that meet their needs at that time. Once I get to know people and build a rapport with them in a compassionate way, it allows our patients to not only be honest with me but our team and their selves. We work together on goals – which can be the smallest thing like making sure they have one meal today, or a shower – to the bigger, harder goals they have.

5. Why should nurses choose to work in addictions care? What is your favourite part of the job?

It is one of the toughest populations within society, but it is tough because many have gone through such pain and torture that many of us cannot fathom. We suffer many losses, and we also get to be alongside some of the greatest successes, which itself is so rewarding. A lot of times we are the first place they go when they are in need of it, so we guide them in the right places or be a listening ear. We are the first people they think to come talk about their achievements and we get to celebrate with them. These things are my favourite parts of the job.

Thank you, Jessica, for everything you do for our patients. Happy National Nursing Week!