By Meaghan Drury ’12 and Lynn Matisz ‘13
When considering his career choices, Carter Rudge ’18 knew two things for sure. First, he wanted to work with people and second, he didn’t want to work in an office. Influenced by his aunt who worked as a nurse when he was younger and went on to become a doctor, Carter saw a career that would meet his needs. As he looked closer at the nursing field, he also liked the diverse pathways his career could take. “It’s nice to know I will be able to work in multiple different environments throughout my career,” he says.
A graduate of Mohawk’s Practical Nursing program, Carter’s first job was in the Day Surgery Department at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton. He worked in the department until leaving to go back to school to pursue his Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Last June, Carter was able to return to St. Joe’s on a clinical teaching unit focused on internal medicine and cardiology. The unit typically has 35 to 40 patients with eight nurses on the day shift and six on the night shift.
As the COVID-19 virus began to spread in March 2020, this area of the hospital was deemed a clean section. The hospital was divided up into three areas: the infected section with patients who had suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, another section for people who have tested negative but were still experiencing symptoms that needed to be treated, and the clean section. Through this time, Carter noticed quite a bit of changes to his unit. “We went from having four to five patients come in during a day shift to having two to three a week,” shares Carter. “There’s been a couple patients who we’ve had to test and both times the test came back negative.” The team and unit have experienced heightened emotions knowing the possibilities of contracting the virus or taking it home to their families.
Carter is carrying on as best he can under the circumstances. “My co-workers and my patients keep me going,” he says. “There are a few patients who I see often and a lot of them are still in high spirits. I find my unit is really good with teamwork, everyone helps each other and talks outside of work. It makes for a positive vibe going into work.” He continues to try to be a positive influence in people’s lives and finds joy especially when he sees patients go home. “There’s no better feeling than watching a patient progress and get better.”
He credits his education with preparing him for many scenarios he’s already faced. “The simulation lab and all the lab techs prepared me for being in these clinical situations and helped with my clinical reasoning.”
Through these trying times, Carter appreciates seeing the support from his community. He would also like to recognize the efforts made by fellow alumni and others working in sectors that he views as not receiving as much recognition, such as personal support workers, unit clerks and cleaning staff.