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Act of healing inspires nursing student
Marcia Porter
Jenny Bragg

The Ross Tilley Burn Centre at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto is a busy and renowned trauma centre for burn injury patients across Ontario.

It's a specialized intensive care unit recognized internationally for its pioneering work on burn treatments and it's where Jenny Bragg of St. John's chose to do her final clinical placement in her Bachelor of Nursing program at Memorial's School of Nursing.

"I took way more than I ever thought I would. It was the best placement I ever had," said Ms. Bragg who just a few years ago planned to be a hair dresser following high school, because she didn't want a regular office job.

"It was phenomenal and exactly what I was looking for," said Ms. Bragg about this unique placement. "I saw people coming in with 15 per cent to 60 per cent burns and over the course of 10 weeks I really got to see the healing process. I got to experience the whole collaborative effort that went into caring."

After four years at the School of Nursing, Ms. Bragg has some ideas about the kind of practice she'd like to pursue. "I'd like to work in an area of nursing where your patients come in at a low point and you're able to help bring them to a better place, to a higher level of functioning. That's what I wanted to aim for."

And that's why she wanted to a clinical experience at the burn unit. Paired with two preceptors, or nurse mentors, Ms. Bragg saw so many unique situations that it was a little shocking at first.

"There were a lot of patients there of similar age to me who ended up requiring amputations due to burns, and that kind of surprised me," she said. "It was pretty traumatic."

What she learned from the experience will stay with her as she launches her own nursing career. Ms. Bragg, who has also been active in the cadet movement since she was nine-years-old, has just completed the final year of her program and is now studying for her national nursing exams.

"My preceptors really pushed me to use a lot more of my critical thinking skills," she said. "It was such a rewarding experience in that I got to be part of the collaborative process, to be part of the team."

It was the first time a BN student from the School of Nursing had asked for a clinical placement at Ross Tilley Burn Unit, and nurses were surprised that Ms. Bragg had come such a long way for the experience.

"They were all very welcoming when I told them where I was from, and very interested," she said. "They all thought it was great I was there."

Jul 28th, 2014

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