Recruitment Reflections: Valley Regional Hospital registered nurse Randy Boutilier has ‘never felt more of a passion to want to get up to go to work every day’

Randy Boutilier is a registered nurse (RN) at Valley Regional Hospital's emergeny department in Kentville (grad photo submitted).
Randy Boutilier is a registered nurse (RN) at Valley Regional Hospital's emergeny department in Kentville (grad photo submitted).

Randy Boutilier of Sheet Harbour didn’t take the most traditional path to becoming a registered nurse. 

Before realizing that nursing was the right career for him, Boutilier took a heavy civil construction course immediately after graduating from high school and spent about two years working in that industry.

“It just wasn’t my interest,” Boutilier said of working in construction, knowing that he had to move into a career that he would truly care about, day in and day out, and for decades to come.

After some serious self-reflection about what he truly loves to do and wants to do with his life, Boutilier realized that what he really wants is to help other people live healthier and happier lives.

“Quite a jump!” He said of the gutsy career move, which seems to be working out quite well for him.

Boutilier, now 28 years old, has been working as a registered nurse (RN) in the emergency department at Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, pretty much since graduating from St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish with his bachelor of science in nursing this spring.

Even before receiving his RN designation, Boutilier had already completed the practical nursing program at Nova Scotia Community College’s Kingstec Campus in Kentville. He was quickly hired on to work as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) at a local nursing home, and then at Eastern Shore Memorial Hospital in his hometown of Sheet Harbour, jobs he enjoyed for four years before going back to school to put in the work needed to become a registered nurse.

“I always liked helping people,” Boutilier said of why becoming a nurse was the right choice for him.

“I always volunteered a lot when I was in high school, (but) I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after high school, so I went into a course that could guarantee work, and while doing that job, I had the time to settle on what I wanted to do and decided on nursing,” he explained.

When he first stepped into Valley Regional Hospital’s emergency department for work, he was both nervous and excited. “It’s a big deal to move from wearing your student hat to putting on your own hat, working under your own licence,” he said with a chuckle.

But making the transition from former construction worker to registered nurse has been made much easier by both his co-workers on the front lines and the supportive recruitment process provided by Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA).

“I found it pretty seamless,” Boutilier said. “I submitted my application. I had my interview. I gave my list and once I was told I met the requirements, they offered me a job. It was pretty straight-forward.”

NSHA’s nursing recruitment consultant Michelle Murphy said hiring new nursing graduates such as Boutilier represents “our largest intake of RN recruitment,” actually accounting for between 60 and 70 per cent of overall nursing recruitment needs.

As part of her job, Murphy works with nursing programs and schools across Atlantic Canada and beyond to communicate with and educate upcoming nursing graduates about what Nova Scotia has to offer as a place to live, work and play.

For Boutilier, being able to stay and work in Nova Scotia “means a lot” to him.

“It feels great to be able to help the province that has given so much to my life,” he said. “It’s just great to be able to help out the local community.”

So what does he like most about working in Nova Scotia?

“Just the people,” Boutilier said. “Just knowing that I am going in to help people and I’m there through a troubling time. Nobody likes to be in a hospital and so I feel privileged to be part of their life in that time; that they feel enough trust in me to help them through this.”

“It just goes back to helping people,” he explained. “I feel like this is where I’m meant to be; like, I’ve never felt more of a passion to want to get up to go to work every day as I have with this job. It’s a self-motivating thing just to have a job that you really enjoy and love.”

And what advice would he give others who might be thinking of nursing as a career option?

“The way I look at it is, if you enjoy helping people and are not afraid to work hard, it’s a great career to get into,” Boutilier said.

“It can have its stressors. Like any job, it can definitely weigh on you emotionally and mentally, but having that good life-work balance is good, and if you really want to give back to your community, nursing is a great way to look into it.”

Boutilier’s final piece of wisdom for those considering nursing as a career is to not “be afraid to try to work with the (health) authority to make changes.”

“If you see something that doesn’t work for you in the authority, I think you should be willing to come back and try to help make the changes to make health care work for every Nova Scotian that we can, even if we have to battle a little bit. It is what it is, but sometimes you just have to work hard and do what you feel is right.”

So far this 2018-19 fiscal year, NSHA has hired a total of 442 new graduate registered nurses to work at our facilities across the province, Murphy said.

“There are still vacancies that exist and we are continuing to match candidates to our remaining vacancies.”

Although spring marked a busy time for hiring new nurses within NSHA, she said there is another large hiring intake expected this month.

To learn more about nursing recruitment, please visit http://www.nshealth.ca/nurse-recruitment.