"Save one life, you're a hero. Save 100 lives, you're a nurse."
Earlier this month, the North East CCAC celebrated National Nursing Week and Mental Health Week, so it seemed appropriate to shine the spotlight on a member of our team who wears both hats. Wanda Sear is a Registered Nurse who works primarily with children and youth as part of the Mental Health & Addictions School Program. Based in Timmins, the former bookkeeper and mother of two turned her passion for helping others into a full-time nursing career, first with the Timmins and District Hospital and now with the CCAC, working closely with area school boards to reach out to students facing mental health or addiction challenges.
Wanda understands the importance of building a trusting relationship with her young charges. Although challenging at times, there's nothing more rewarding. "It's my job to help children cope with the everyday issues they face," says Wanda. "My goal is to empower young people with the tools they need to help them conquer their anxiety or fears. When you finally make that connection, it makes it all worth it."
A firm believer in lifelong learning, this past year Wanda introduced a series of fun and informal "lunch and learn" sessions for her CCAC colleagues across the North East on a variety of mental health issues, from dealing with depression to seasonal anxiety disorders to healthy eating. Not one to rest on her laurels, in June, she'll be launching Mental Health Minutes, short podcasts that staff can access whenever they need a break.
"One of the reasons I love being a nurse is the opportunity for continuous learning," Wanda says. "I'm always looking for ways to challenge myself. My personal motto is - if you feel like you know it all, then it's time to retire!"