The Change Up with Senz Hamilton

I have always admired Senz and her passionate pursuits. Throughout my time of knowing Senz she has worked as baker of beautiful cakes (she baked the cupcakes for my wedding), opened a successful restaurant and recently went back to school to follow her passion for nursing. I am happy to feature Senz in my first “Change Up” interview as it takes great courage to start a BSN at the of age 37 and pursue a new career direction.

 
Senz Hamilton

Senz Hamilton

 

Senz, tell us about your current profession or position?

I am a Registered Nurse in Oncology.

Why does this career path make you jump out of bed in the morning and get you excited for growth?

I worked in the service industry for over 20 years, in just about every area of food service and retail. I have always loved working with people and providing products or services that enhance people’s lives. My contributions usually involved the pleasures of food. Ten years ago I was ready for (yet) another career change after a business partnership ended poorly and left me disillusioned with the restaurant business. At the same time my grandfather had severe congestive heart failure and I was spending a lot of time with him in his nursing home. I loved the company of the elders in the home and began to think about working in elder care. The prospect of entering the 4-year nursing degree program in my late 30s was daunting so I took an 8-month care aide certificate course and began to work in long term care. The RNs who taught the course encouraged me to pursue further education and opened my eyes to the wide variety of nursing roles available.

So at 37 I entered the nursing BSN program. I had my final practicum at the BC Cancer Agency and fell in love with cancer care; it is a mix of curative, palliative, and chronic care that challenges me both mentally and emotionally. I work with an amazing team of people and am inspired daily by the courage of my clients and colleagues as they face the unknown road ahead

So what criteria or qualities are essential to be the best at what you do?

Success in nursing means caring for people as whole beings going through one of the most challenging experiences a person can face. On a day-to-day basis, my job involves using specialized knowledge to assess patients, plan care based on that assessment, and perform any required tasks with skill.

My goal is to approach each patient and family with openness and non-judgement and try to meet them where they are at in their journey. I aim to be flexible in the care I provide and to support people to make decisions about their health care that are in line with their own values and beliefs. This requires compassion and empathy for my clients and their families, as well as for my colleagues and myself, as we attempt to provide excellent care in the current economically-stressed environment of health care. This is often the most challenging part of our job and creates stress when we not able to provide the standard of care we aim for due to resource constraints. This requires self awareness of the stressors I face and doing my own self care practices to cope with them.

Tell us about your worst “work-mare” position and what you took away from it?

When I first moved to Victoria at 24 I had three part time jobs to make ends meet. One was in a high-end clothing shop downtown. There was no training about where the clothes came from or why we chose to sell them. The clientele were wealthy older women I couldn’t identify with at the time. I was being paid minimum wage and couldn’t afford the wear the clothes I was selling and the pace was extremely slow – frankly, I was bored. I didn’t work there for long and learned I needed to believe in the product or service I was providing and to be challenged by the work I was doing.

What has been the job you have enjoyed the most and what did you learn from it?

I’ve been fortunate to have the ability to choose where I work and have thus enjoyed most of my jobs. Maybe that’s why I have changed so many times; whenever I stopped learning from one job and enjoying it, I would either get myself promoted or move on to the next job.
The consistent things have been the desire to provide quality service and value, to constantly be learning, and to work with amazing people.

Thanks Senz for taking the time to chat with us today.

Looking to make your own career change? Come see me at www.jocelincaldwell.com for further career transition information.