Tiffany Mos always knew she wanted to work in the medical field. She just wasn’t sure how. That is, until her mother set an example.
“I didn’t specifically know I wanted to be a nurse until Grade 12,” says Mos. “I saw my mom going through the program at that time and I was able to hear about her learning experiences. It really pushed me towards nursing, seeing how much she was learning and the impact she was already making on others’ lives.”
It certainly helped that Mos has no squeamishness about things that might give other mere mortals pause: blood and needles. On the contrary, “I’m usually fascinated by wounds and things like that,” she says.
Mos chose to attend UWindsor, not only because it’s close to home, “but it is also a great nursing program. It is an accredited program, so being able to attend a good school while being in the comfort of my home is a great benefit for me.”
Once enrolled, the third-year student enjoyed the opportunity to integrate theory with practice. “We got to work with real patients starting in our first year,” she explains. “And, each year, we get to build on our knowledge and skills and expand our scope of practice.”
It lends an added practical dimension to the educational experience when students get to “actually see and practise the things you are learning about, rather than just reading about them in books,” she says.
The most challenging aspect of the program for Mos is finding time to balance theory, clinical, work, and personal time. “It gets tough during exam season but I’m finding that as each semester goes on I get better and better with managing the workload.”
To date, Mos has won a President’s Renewable Entrance Scholarship and made the Dean’s List for 2017 and 2018.
In addition, she was eligible to be an Outstanding Scholar, which meant she could participate in research.
In second year, her research group examined how such social factors as income, age, and education may affect a person’s access to a primary health care provider such as a family doctor or nurse practitioner.
The group worked with the Erie St. Clair Health Integration Network (LHIN) on the project. “By analyzing this data, we can see if there are certain factors that cause inequities between people and possibly make it more difficult for them to access care,” explains Mos.
“We can try to make health care more accessible to all people and possibly pinpoint which factors we need to take into account in order to make that happen,” says Mos.
University of Windsor nursing professor, Dr. Maher El-Masri, led the group through the data collection and entry processes, “but (as of press time) the data is still in the process of being analyzed so we don’t have results yet.”
Mos had always thought of research as being done “in a science lab with coats and goggles.”
But she quickly learned that the process is more than just working in a lab. “Doing research in the community has really opened up my eyes to all of the different paths you can take with research, and although I never imagined myself doing it, I am so grateful for the opportunity.
“I enjoy knowing that what we are doing is all in hopes of making a difference. Everyone begins the process with a goal in mind to learn more about a certain topic and use those answers to make positive contributions to society.”
For Mos, the experience showed her that research is “definitely something I would like to continue.”
She doesn’t view nursing as a “one-track career.”
“I am planning on attaining a master’s degree and possibly even a PhD one day. I want to work as a nurse and get all of the field experience I can during the beginning of my career. But, later on, I would like to fall back on possibly teaching or doing research in a field I am passionate about.”
Though Mos could see herself working as a nurse anesthetist one day, the future is wide open. “It is exciting to think about but time will only tell where I will end up once I get to experience different aspects of nursing as an RN.
“There are so many different paths you can take—whether working in the hospital or community work—and there is always room for more learning and growth.”
During her first year, she was placed as a personal support worker at Extendicare Southwood Lakes in Windsor, Ont. In addition, she has spent time at the Windsor Regional Hospital Met Campus as part of her program. Since April 2017, she has served as a client service co-ordinator at Bayshore Therapy and Rehab.
Mos says that the most beneficial aspect of this hands-on experience is “without a doubt knowing that you helped make a patient more comfortable in their time of need.”
For example, “some tasks that may seem so small to us, such as dressing yourself in the morning. But that may be a huge challenge to some patients. Being able to help them and provide them with dignity throughout their most vulnerable times is definitely very rewarding.”