« Working without a safety net—I love it! »
Alexandre Savard-Martineau, age 35 Nurse
At work, I never look at my watch—because I’m never bored! I run on pure adrenaline. As a night-shift nurse in the emergency room, I’ve found the perfect job for me. You can start the night with no patients and end it with 20, some of whom may be at risk of dying. You’re working without a safety net. You have to act quickly and deal with all kinds of difficult and varied of situations like heart problems and car accidents. Being on your toes is a big part of the job—and I love it!
I could be working on other floors of the hospital, where I would get to know patients better and develop longer-term relationships, but I prefer the ER. And no matter where you work in a hospital, there’s no such thing as “routine.” When you least expect it, anything can happen. It’s a real rush! I think I was destined to be a nurse.
At age two I was hospitalized. I had so much fun I didn’t want to go home! I made some effort to become a doctor, but opportunities were limited at the time, so I earned my bachelor’s in biochemistry instead, and found a good job with an environmental company. But after four years, at age 29, I knew it wasn’t my calling. Working in an office from 9 to 5 didn’t suit me. I wanted to help people, only I wasn’t sure how. Then, as fate would have it, I was hospitalized for the second time in my life. In the ER, a male nurse took care of me, and that’s when things suddenly clicked. I said to myself, “Guys can be nurses too!” That experience awakened my interest in hospital work. A few months later, I started nursing school. By the way, let’s debunk a myth: not all male nurses are homosexual. The vast majority of my colleagues have a wife and children, as I do.
People like having male nurses on their teams. I think it changes the dynamic and reduces interpersonal conflict. We also bring a male perspective to our work. We have a more—well, a more masculine approach! All the doctors respect what we do, and our relationship with them is great.
Oh, I almost forget! Because of our physical strength, female nurses like having us around when patients become aggressive or agitated. People on drugs can be that way. Obviously, tenderness and empathy are essential in this profession, but a good nurse also needs to be tough.
Lastly, in this profession, you’re guaranteed a job when you graduate! In fact, hospitals recruit nurses even before they finish school. Six months before I earned my diploma, I had already signed a contract for a full-time, permanent position!
It’s funny how in the morning after a tough night in the ER, my colleagues and I all wonder why in the world we do this job, but as soon as we get home, we only want one thing—to go back to work! We love what we do!”