National Nursing Week: Interview with Michel Dureau
On the National Nursing Week, we met with Michel Dureau, Director of Nursing (DON) at AMBIANCE in Île-des-Sœurs, to talk a little about his job. Interview with a dedicated man.
Mr. Dureau, tell us a bit about yourself. Was becoming a nurse a definite career decision?
I started taking care of people in need at a very young age. I was actually seven or eight years old. There was a centre for people with disabilities around the corner from where I lived. I used to go around lunch time to help out because already had it in me to lend out a hand. I officially started working as a nurse at 19. It’s been almost 24 years since I started this job.
What led you to working with an older clientele?
My parents are very old. My father, who is 84, has Alzheimer’s disease. Seeing them grow old makes me particularly aware of the specific needs of this clientele, but I’ve always enjoyed working with seniors, and even more so since I am with Le Groupe Maurice. I work with a great team which includes, among other people, a general manager who is a doctor. It makes all the difference because we understand each other well.
What do you like about working in a residence for seniors?
What I like most is customer service. Being able to connect with families and be more attentive to the needs of the residents is something that does not really exist beyond the private sector. Some of the residents have been here since the opening of AMBIANCE 12 years ago. There are four centenarians! We take really good care of them. Service is highly personalized. I’m really proud of the work we are doing on a day-to-day basis.
What do you like about your clientele?
With the elderly, it’s not only about providing care; the psychological aspect is also very important. Older people remain more active for longer, and not only physically: many are quick-witted! In the afternoon, a group of 10 or 12 women will sometimes meet to talk. When there are concerts, 30 or so people gather in the small lounge. I had rarely seen that before! I get goosebumps every time!
What do you like most about your job as a nurse?
For me, it’s the fact that taking care of others is the natural thing to do. This job fully represents who I am. I don’t even ask myself questions. I like being someone everybody can count on, and I also like sharing what I know. The nursing assistants are always eager to learn more. I like the idea of being a bit of a mentor to them.
Do you feel that things have changed since you started practising?
I think the role of the nurse is more valued today. It’s not only about performing tasks anymore. There’s more respect for the profession; there are more and more partnerships between doctors and nurses. Doctors are now far more open to the idea of entrusting us with responsibilities.
Improved equipment is also making a big difference in the nursing field. At AMBIANCE, we are using SOFI, a software solution for resident health records (French only), and will eventually introduce computerized medication protocol records. The digitization process will continue. For example, each medication dosette could possibly be scanned. The tensiometer and blood glucose meter could also be computerized. This would make a huge difference. My role as a manager is also to convey these kinds of ideas so that the care team can save time and be more present with the residents.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Over my 24-year career, I have never felt so well supported. I have an amazing team. My coordinator has been around since the opening of the residence! This is the first time I feel so happy to wake up in the morning to go to work. The reasons I ended up working at AMBIANCE are so peculiar that I have no choice but to think that I was destined to work here!
Visit the Canadian Nurses Association website to learn more about the National Nursing Week.