Nurses' Stories


In leading up to 2020, few could foresee the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the pandemic tested every aspect of our healthcare system and amplified its shortcomings, it also revealed its strengths, one of which was nurses.

Nurses are one of the system’s most valuable resources and an important social capital of the healthcare system. Their knowledge and skills are currently in even more desperate need.

Although we rely on numbers and statistics to track health care outcomes, these data tell only part of the story. This site introduces you to Nurses’ Stories, a project that was started during the pandemic with hopes to continue beyond. It brings to light, nurses experiences and the importance of nurses’ sharing their stories.


Why Stories?

The act of sharing stories connects us to one another. Sharing and listening to stories can help us to find purpose and meaning in our lives and work and can help the sharer or listener find a deeper understanding of both challenging and rewarding experiences.

This site presents just a sample of nurses’ stories that were collected during the pandemic. We invite you to explore these powerful stories with the hope that through this virtual exhibit, you will deepen your understanding of nursing, who nurses are, the nature of nursing, the unrelenting challenges faced, and the complexity of nursing work.

While many of these stories present challenges and trauma, they also show resilience and growth. They reveal the best of what it means to be a professional nurse. What nurses’ ask of themselves and what is asked of them by others. What it means to find oneself at the edge of one’s own capacity only to discover strengths within oneself, one’s families, and colleagues —strengths that may have laid dormant, gone unnoticed, or been untapped or undeveloped.

After reading and/or listening to a story, start by asking yourself simple reflective questions to engage with the story sharing process:

  • What was my reaction to the story?
  • How did this story make me feel? (emotionally, physically)
  • What was I thinking while listening to the story?
  • Does this story trigger a memory of an experience that I had? How is it similar or different?
  • Are there any similarities/links between my story and the story I read/heard?
  • What matters to me most in the story I read/heard? What matters most in my story?


Strengths-Based Nursing and Healthcare (SBNH)

After these initial reflections, you can also consider how SBNH values and qualities resonate in the story. For more information about SBNH,  visit the McGill University website.

Reflecting on the SBNH values through a story can be an invaluable tool to broaden and deepen one’s understanding of SBNH and to integrate SBNH as one’s approach to practice, transforming even the most challenging situations into rewarding learning and growth experiences.


Ryan Bisessar, MBA, RN, is currently the head nurse of the pulmonary rehabilitation unit at Mount Sinai Hospital. During COVID, he worked on the pulmonary rehabilitation ward, took on a higher managerial role on the long-term care ward, and completed his MBA. He was interviewed by Christina Claussen on August 31, 2021.  Jennifer Clarke, MN, GNC(c), is the Associate Director of the Support Program for the Autonomy of Seniors (SAPA) at the CIUSSS Centre-Ouest-de-l'Île-de-Montréal. She was interviewed by Gretchen Lydia Keller on April 16, 2021. At that time, she was the Program Coordinator SAPA for Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre.
Idah Helna Dunga Sona, DEC, RN, is a team leader at Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre and is currently studying for her Bachelor's in Nursing. She was interviewed by Laurie Gottlieb on May 7, 2021.Sarah Hasson, Msc(A), is a nurse clinician at the Jewish General hospital. She worked in the intensive care unit at the time of her story. She was interviewed by Alefia Merchant on April 29, 2021.
Hélène Lefebvre, BScN, is a nurse at the Jewish General Hospital and is currently finishing her Bachelor's in Nursing at the University of Montreal. She was interviewed on September 8, 2021 by Laura Crump.Julia Mazzonna, BNI, is a nurse clinician at the Jewish General Hospital. She was interviewed by Christina Clausen on March 25, 2021.
Victoria Nixon, BA, is a registered nurse at the Jewish General Hospital. She was interviewed by Christina Clausen on April 28th, 2021. She is currently on maternity leave but will be returning to the surgery ward this coming winter.Hà Quach, M.Sc., is head nurse in on an internal medicine unit and fast track unit (FTU) at the Jewish General Hospital. She was interviewed by Karine Marineau on April 22, 2021.
Patricia Robitaille, M.Sc., is a conseillère-cadre in frontline services. She was interviewed by Karine Marineau on May 13, 2021.Jean-Luc St-Amour is a 32-year-old nurse clinician who worked as a street nurse with homeless people. He was interviewed by Karine Marineau on March 16, 2021.
Adila Zahir, MScN, DESS, is Chief of Service of Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) for the CIUSSS du Centre-Ouest-de-l’Île-de-Montréal. She was interviewed by Christina Clausen on April 29, 2021. 

See more information about this exhibit.

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