Kim-Marie Meeker discovered early on that she wanted to be a nurse. The seed was planted when she was 12 years old and volunteering at a senior’s home running games of bingo and bringing the tuck cart around. “I learned then that I wanted to work with people,” Kim remembers. She connected that with nursing at the age of 14 when she was a candy striper at Scarborough General Hospital. “I wanted to help people and I like talking to people, and as a nurse you get to do both,” says Kim. “You need to build a rapport with your patients to understand how you can help them.”
Kim has been connecting with patients for 40 years, 32 of them in nursing at Mount Sinai Hospital. Kim was a Registered Practical Nurse from 1979 until 1992 at the hospital. Then, after she earned her RN, she started working in the community with Saint Elizabeth. Kim returned to Mount Sinai as a bedside nurse in 2001 working permanent nights so that she could raise her young family, “The hospital is definitely quieter at night, and there is less staff, but the needs of my patients don’t get quieter. Nursing doesn’t stop.”
Working nights also allowed Kim to continue to work in the community, where she would visit patients in their homes who needed clinical support. These home visits would often take her far as Kim covered the regions of Scarborough, Durham, Northumberland, and Trent Hills. “Tuesday’s were my community days,” she notes. Kim retired from Saint Elizabeth in 2017.
What is an Entersotomal Therapy Nurse?
According to Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence Canada, an Entersotomal Therapy Nurse is a registered nurse with advanced and specialized knowledge and clinical skills in wound, ostomy and continence care. From acute care hospitals, outpatient clinics, community, long-term care and in independent practice, they provide specialized holistic assessment and management as an interprofessional team member to meet the needs of individuals and families with ostomies, acute and chronic wounds and urinary and fecal continence problems.
It was in the community that Kim met her mentor, Nancy Parslow who was the Enterostomal Therapy Nurse at Saint Elizabeth. “I would watch her work and watch how she would use her problem solving skills to meet the needs of the patients in the community.” Nancy inspired Kim to pursue her certification and become an Enterostomal Therapy Nurse herself. When asked why she enjoys that type of nursing, Kim remarks, “When I’m working with a patient who has a wound that isn’t healing or an ostomy that might be leaking, I love working with them to find a solution. When a patient comes back to me to say that they can leave their house now and not have to worry about their appliance leaking, I know that I have made an impact on their quality of life.”
Despite working in two nursing roles, and having a family, Kim demonstrates an obvious commitment to lifelong learning, “whether it was ostomies, wound care or Oncology, I wanted to better understand the patient population I was taking care of.” She also serves on her Unit Council and the wound care committee at Mount Sinai, and sits on the Conference planning committee for Nursing Specializing in Wound, Ostomy and Continence Canada.
But Kim isn’t just passionate about her work, she remains committed to volunteering and is a Girl Guide Leader. She has her motorcycle license and while she no longer has a bike, she does go out for rides with her husband. Family continues to be a huge part of what makes Kim “go,” especially her almost one-year old granddaughter. “We have a cottage, and we just love all being up there together on the weekends.”