Jill StaplesA Wife, Proud Mother and Grandmother, Nurse and Farmer
Being nominated for this has been overwhelming and unexpected. I have always felt things happen and people come into your life for a reason we just don’t always know why or when you might meet those people again.
I grew up in Peterborough the oldest of 6 children, we had one bathroom and 2 bedrooms so learning to be flexible, problem solve as well as being responsible was just to be expected. I was the “go to and fixer in our family”. I was very fortunate to have had many supportive people growing up that had an influence on my future. My dad at times had 3 jobs to support us, so work ethic was role modelled from an early age. I was very quiet and painfully shy; I think I answered one or two questions in high school. When having trouble in math surprisingly I was brave enough to ask our principal, a man feared by many but a great math teacher for help with my math when I had a teacher I wasn’t doing well with. He later came into my life as a patient, when I could help him.
My Grandmother died from breast cancer and I had surgery when I was 17, those nurses I experienced helped to make my decision to become a Registered Nurse. After graduating from Civic Hospital, I worked in Vancouver and Edmonton for 4 years and returned to Peterborough to work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where I was privileged to look after many of Peterborough’s small citizens and years later meeting up with some of these moms I feel amazed that they remember me and told me of the impact I made on them. I had difficulty with feeding my firstborn so I studied to become the first staff trained as an International Certified Lactation Consultant to further support my patients and their mothers.
Health issues forced me to leave the job I loved having to go on CPP disability for 3 years while waiting for a bladder neuro-stimulator. Unexpectantly I was offered an amazing opportunity to become the Blood Conservation Coordinator, one of 26 in the province, a position completely out of my realm and experience, I thought my life had turned around with this new job, getting my neuro-stimulator when I was mugged going into Toronto Western Hospital. Fortunately I recovered, I made up my mind not to let this change me, but going back to Toronto for appointments and work was challenging dealing with the PTSD. Meanwhile my new position allowed me to develop skills and experiences I had only dreamed of; including having work published in medical journals, travelling and presenting to medical conferences in Canada, the States and Lisbon, Portugal. Once again I met wonderful specialists, nurses and patients. This research project has now become
standard of practice, changing how patients are treated and saving the health care system money.
Over the years as a member of RNAO, I have been able to bring local health concerns to MPPs’ at Queen’s Park and was proud to be presented the RNAO Award of Merit.
After leaving the hospital I was offered the opportunity to develop the OTN(telemedicine) program at the Canadian Mental Health Association. This was also an area I never expected to work in but with some of my life experiences I have been able to understand and assist people dealing with their life issues.
The other side of my life my husband and I have a 265 acre farm in Cavan where we tap 3500 trees and produce Staples Maple Syrup. We have become Certified Organic, are CFIA inspected yearly and have won numerous awards. We have been vendors at the Saturday Farmer’s Market for over 40 years; we appreciate the support of our loyal customers and I love meeting up with past patients and coworkers!
We are fortunate to have our children and grandchildren live close by, to watch them grow, develop and recently become involved in our business has been the highlight of my life.
Advocating for others especially my patients has always been easier than standing up for myself, but throughout my life I have learned to pick myself up and carry on. The last couple of years have been particularly challenging for me but this year required all of us to slow down and appreciate the more important things in life, like family. We will all remember 2020!