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Nursing Mentorship Program

Madelyn Allen is one of the first Registered Nurses to participate in Yukon Hospital’s Nursing Mentorship Program

It was Yukon Hospital’s new nursing graduate program and the opportunity for ongoing mentorship that drew Madelyn Allen, a registered nurse from Ontario, up to the Yukon in 2021.

Three years ago, after graduating with her Registered Nursing degree from Western University in London, Ontario, Madelyn was one of the first RNs to move to Whitehorse to participate in the new graduate program at Whitehorse General Hospital.

“If it means you get extra training, there’s incentive to move to a northern corner in the world,” says Madelyn. “That and if you love playing in the snow,” she adds with a laugh.

Madelyn was also one of the first RNs to participate in Yukon Hospital’s Mentorship Program, which provides nurses with the opportunity to expand their education and gain hands-on practical nursing skills by specializing in the areas of Emergency and Trauma Care, Maternity, and Medical Surgery. This is critical to being a nurse in the north, says Madelyn.

“Up here we have a wide scope of practice, so you have to be responsible for your own education,” she says. “It’s great the hospital makes this education accessible to nurses.”

Madelyn decided to focus in the area of Emergency and Trauma care nursing. She studied online for two years, followed by three months of hands-on training in the ER. In October, the RN traveled south to undertake her practical training at a trauma centre in downtown Toronto. She describes the experience as positive, although “quite the jump” and a huge learning curve.

“In the ER, you know very little about your patients, or what’s going to happen,” she says. “You're starting from ground zero. It’s a lot more unpredictable than other areas of nursing.”

Despite the challenges, the payoff of participating in the program has been hugely rewarding, Madelyn says, as it’s widened her knowledge and skills as a nurse — and her capacity to provide excellent care for patients.
Yukon Hospital’s mentorship program involves pairing mentees, like Madelyn, with nursing mentors. Through the program, Madelyn has worked with four different nurses at the Whitehorse General Hospital.

“That’s a good thing,” she says. “You gain different perspectives as every nurse has a different speciality.”

Entering the field of nursing can be a daunting task, but opportunities like the Mentorship Program provide nurses with the support they need to learn and grow in their scope of practice.

“Nursing is a very, very intense job and it can be exhausting,” says Madelyn. “So I appreciated the resources the hospital provided me with going into training and I felt well supported.”

She also credits the senior nurses on staff at Whitehorse General Hospital, describing them as “smart, gracious and incredibly compassionate”, adding that she feels a strong sense of teamwork and community with her colleagues at Yukon Hospitals.

“Everyone knows each other’s names and, after work, often we’ll go out for a ski together.”

Madelyn encourages other nurses to participate in the mentorship program at Yukon Hospitals.

“There’s growing pains, for sure, but it’s been a very good experience,” Madelyn says. “There’s so much to learn. I appreciate the hospital for introducing this program. Because of the wide scope [of nursing practice] in the north, these educational opportunities will keep us strong.”