Louise Gervais: Nurse 2.0!

Louise Gervais

What might surprise people about premature babies?
“They are feisty, they are strong. It’s surprising, it’s pretty impressive to see.”

What do you like about working with such tiny babies?
“My love of pediatrics; nurses tend to gravitate either to adult or pediatric nursing. There’s something different about babies. And there’s something really special to being a witness, to help a family navigate those first few days, or months.”

What drew you to the specialty of neonatal nursing?
“I love how dynamic and how ever-changing it is, and there’s not one day that’s the same. You do the same work but it’s never the same. Back in the early ‘90’s a 23-week-old baby couldn’t be saved. It took everything just to save a 27-weeker.”

Why become a Nurse Practitioner?
“An evolution; you nurse, and you like nursing, and like any profession that you’re in, if you want to go beyond, the only path was to go be a doctor. I didn’t want to be a doctor. The Nurse Practitioner role allows you to bring it to the next level. There’s a certain sense of autonomy as a nurse practitioner.”
Unlike nurses, NP’s can diagnose, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe pharmaceuticals and perform specific procedures.

What’s the most difficult part of the job?
“I think the most difficult part of the job sometimes is that fence that you sit on; are you nursing or are you medical-you’ve got the nursing perspective and now you’ve got the medical view, not everyone understands the role. It’s getting other professionals to understand your role.”
But this isn’t as much of a problem here at the Children’s because neonatal nurse practitioners have been part of the team in the NICU since 1994.

Louise Gervais What’s the most important quality for an NP in this field?
“The ability to listen. And you have to be really patient. There’s also a huge leadership component.”

What would you be doing if not neonatal nursing?
“Teaching… nursing.”

What do you do to manage the stress?
“Walking, a lot of walking and getting out in nature.”

What’s your guilty pleasure?
“Netflix. And mostly documentaries. I enjoy a documentary about people’s success or trials, or how they’ve gotten to be who they are, or who they were, and what they went through.”

What super power would you like to have, and why?
“To fly. It would be cheaper than airfare.”

Do you have a favourite animated film?
“Lilo & Stitch. It’s all about acceptance and love.”