Meet (and pledge!) Nicole and Stephen King.
Sponsored by The Cornwall Hospital Auxiliary
What do we do at CCH?
Steve: I’m an Emergency Room Attendant. This means I’m a Personal Support Worker (PSW) with additional training for hands-on care in the Emergency Department. I help our doctors and nurses with things like orthopedic work, electro cardiograms, and assisting in trauma rooms. I’ve been at CCH since Dec, 2017. I spent five years on the Medicine floor – that’s where anyone sick enough to stay in the hospital outside of ICU, Emergency, and the OR, is admitted. In November 2022, I joined the Emergency Department. It’s not always easy, but I’m happy to say I love my job.
Nicole: I’ve been a registered nurse since the beginning of COVID. In fact, I was in the process of graduating as the pandemic hit. Like Steve, I started working on the Medicine floor and now I’m part of the Resource team, so I use my skills across the hospital wherever I’m needed. I’m also taking courses with Queen’s University while I’m working at CCH to become a nurse practitioner.
How did we end up working in healthcare?
Nicole: Well, Steve used to be a car salesman.
Steve: And Nicole worked in insurance.
So, our story’s a little different than those who start their career on this path. For us, it’s been an evolution, but an incredibly rewarding experience. We’re continuing to learn and grow our skills so we can contribute to our community.
Nicole: My mom was an RN. She was a maternity nurse, and I grew up watching the impact she made on others. As I got older, I started to think about what that impact meant, and how I might have more to give if I took a different path. I ended up becoming a registered nurse through the former Laurentian University course at St. Lawrence College.
Starting my nursing career at the beginning of COVID was very challenging. There was so much to learn, on top of a global pandemic upending the healthcare system — it was like walking into a completely different world. Looking back, I think that experience made me a more well-rounded nurse in a short period of time because was no choice but to try and absorb as much as possible, as quickly as possible.
Steve: As Nicole’s husband, I became inspired by the idea that I could make a difference in people’s lives, too. Three weeks after Nicole went back to school, I signed up for college. At first, it seemed like I was a fish out of water — I was the only male in our class of 46 people, and I was a little older than the average student — but I felt like I’d found my calling. My program was shorter than Nicole’s, so I ended up on the frontlines first.
What are we most proud of when it comes to our work at CCH?
Steve: When someone comes in blue and not able to breathe, and I’m in a trauma room with my colleagues doing chest compressions – and we get their heart rhythm back? It’s the best feeling in the world. In that moment we don’t know what the future is going to hold, but we know our team will do whatever it takes to make sure our patient is okay. Not every day is like that. Unfortunately, we can’t save everyone. But when we do? It’s everything.
Nicole: I’m proud to collaborate with so many amazing, intelligent people who come together to help others in the best way they can. I love being part of this environment and sharing in the process to make lives better across our community. I feel like I’ve found my vocation.
Our oldest daughter (of 5) is in the RPN program at St. Lawrence College, so we’ll have 3 generations of nurses in our family soon. That’s something that makes us both proud.
What’s one thing we wish people knew about life behind the scenes at CCH?
Steve: I think the toughest thing for people to understand is that you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. We know it’s not easy sitting in the waiting room, and we respect that. What you don’t see are the struggles or traumas of those who have already made it back to us, and how they require our resources.
Nicole: For me, it’s been a fantastic experience observing the integrity of our healthcare staff and how much they care about our patients. Coming to healthcare later, it’s been something that has really stuck with me, and has made my journey more rewarding. So many people at CCH go above and beyond to try and make sure everyone is taken care of. The teamwork behind the scenes is phenomenal.
Why did we decide to dance?
Nicole: We wanted to help the hospital and give back to the community.
Steve: Yes – that – and my wife told me to 😊.
What project are we dancing for?
We’re dancing and fundraising for a project impacting our Emergency Department.
Steve: We believe in our Emergency Department. Since Nicole works on the Resource team, she spends time there, too. We want to help local patients and the healthcare professionals who serve them.
Our project includes:
- 5 new stretchers, each equipped with an electric lift to support patient safety and help protect our nurses’ backs, eliminating resistance and improving ergonomic design.
- A new patient lift. This piece of equipment is essential to get our patients our of bed more easily, helping avoid respiratory issues, bedsores, and other problems. Patient lifts are so important for our staff, helping avoid injury and strains at the bedside.
Why should you vote for us?
Our five kids are going to be watching us from the audience, and one of them is a competitive dancer with Powell. She’s already been critiquing our performance from home – so please help us out!