Today’s Interviewee: Logan Rousselle

Logan is a 24-year-old Registered Nurse, and is currently a first year student in the Masters of Nursing – Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner program at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Logan graduated from the Nursing Program at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John in 2019. His first job as a Registered Nurse was in the emergency department of the Saint John Regional Hospital, where he worked for over two years before deciding to get his post graduate degree.

During his spare time, he loves to read and watch the latest Netflix series, all while procrastinating his studies.

Editors note: Please leave your feedback and comments at the bottom of the interview page. Thank you.

Q. Where were you born? What was it like to live there?

A. I was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick and grew up in a couple of different places. I lived with my father part-time in Juniper and then with my mother in Bristol. It was great. There were certainly some challenges living in two different spots. Thankfully, as a kid, I was very resilient, and I learned to adapt. Occasionally, it would be hard to see friends if I was at the opposite place that week, but overall, I overcame those obstacles.

Q. What are your fondest memories of your early childhood? What would be your least favourite memories?

A. I don’t know if I can pinpoint one specific memory. When I think about my childhood, I have fond memories with my family, either with my brothers or with my grandparents, who I was really close with. I come from a large and blended family, so family was crucial. I don’t know if I have the least favourite memory. I think I grew up quickly. I remember feeling concerned about other people. I was concerned if my mom was doing ok, as well as my dad and stepmom. I worried a lot about making them proud and happy. I guess it’s not really a bad memory, but it is something that still resonates.

Q. Did you have many siblings to play with, or were you mostly on your own?

A. I was on my own and not because I didn’t have any siblings but because we were not close in age. My brother is 9 or 10 years older. I also have three stepbrothers who are all greater than 10 years older than me, so there’s quite an age gap. I do remember spending time with all of my brothers as a kid, but now that I’m older… *audio cuts out here*

Q. You grew up during the Internet age. When did you realize that you were part of a much larger world?

A. I realized this when I received my first invitation to social media. Before everyone had Facebook, it wasn’t something that you just had. It was something you got invited to. I remember getting the notification in my hotmail account. The curiosity of the Internet stemmed from there. Going from having few friends as a young kid, to then being connected to friends from all walks of life. As I get older, it’s hard to see a world without it.

Q. When you were still an adolescent, you and your mother moved to Saint John to start a different life. How difficult was that for you to adjust?

A. It was very hard. I am very close with my family, and geographically distancing ourselves was one of my first big struggles in early life. We moved there when I was in grade 8, so it was a tough stage in life. It was the first year before high school, having to make new friends, learning about a new environment and how things work were all challenges. Saint John was a large change from what I was used to. It was in high school when I felt more adjusted to this. Middle school is awful, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. High school is where you start to discover who you are. You form unique friendships and strong bonds with people. You gain more independence and are relying less on your parents. Furthermore, you find that niche area where you fit into, which is harder to do when you are younger.

Q. During your high school years, you expressed to your friends and family that you were attracted to the same sex. How did you feel about that period of time?

A. That was a struggle. I think it’s what I expected it to be. I am very fortunate to live in a mostly accepting society, comparative to others where being gay is unfortunately a death sentence. I think that goes back to the coming of age and finding who you are. It was a lot of self-learning. When I was growing up, you didn’t know about being gay or what it meant. I never felt like coming out needed to be a big phenomenon. But I do understand why some people feel the need to do so, and I never want to tear down anyone who has a bigger coming out story than I did. I suppose you tell people who you trust, and who love you no matter what. There were certainly some mixed reactions from some of my close family, but there was mutual respect, and this was important to me.

Q. What school activities did you do that gave you the most joy and confidence?

A. I am probably more introverted than most. I had done some sports in middle school, which I wasn’t too fond of. In high school, I started becoming more involved in musical theatre. I don’t know how I didn’t know I was gay then. I signed up for the musical, and not in a traditional way. I had met with one of the stage managers, and they taught me all about theatre and what happens behind the scenes, and I really enjoyed that. The two acting stage managers were graduating that year and needed to find their replacements. So, my friend and I took over and did that for all 4 years of high school. I have lost track of how many shows that we have done. Another thing I did towards the end of high school was ballet. The director of the high school musicals was also my English teacher and is also a ballet instructor, and that’s how I got involved with that. I found some great friends in dance and theatre. I worked for a community theatre company. I taught children acting, musical theatre and dance and found my place in that.

Q. When did you know that you wanted to become a Registered Nurse?

A. I don’t know if I ever knew. I had a really hard time figuring out what I wanted to do in high school. I bounced between criminal justice, social work, physiotherapy, and nursing. I wanted to do something that helped others. I looked through a few programs and had some exposure to nursing because my older stepbrother and stepmother are nurses. My grandmother also worked in long-term care for most of her life. I started my Bachelors of Nursing in 2015 at UNB.

Q. You chose the Emergency Department for your first job out of University. Why? How was that experience for you?

A. I started in the Emergency department during the end of my undergrad. I did a 12-week-long preceptorship with a few nurses. As a student in this department, I learned that every day is a different day. Every patient has a different presenting complaint. You see such a wide variety of acute and chronic illnesses, you see them across their lifespan from birth to death. I think I went there primarily because I preferred not to decide a specialty right away. There is nothing wrong with selecting a specialty early, but I felt as though I needed to learn as much as I could about as much as I could to develop a good breadth of knowledge. I think I fell in love with the controlled chaos within my first month there.

Q. The COVID-19 pandemic began during the first year of your posting. What were the specific challenges you had to face?

A. I started there in 2019 officially as a nurse, once I graduated. As a fresh new grad coming in to the big bad world, I got shot down by a global pandemic. A few of the specific challenges were that you had to learn so quickly how to adapt. The virus and restrictions changed every day, management changed every day, etc. There was a lot to keep up with. We had reduced staffing abilities because people were out due to exposures or illness. I’m fortunate that I worked in a time and area where it wasn’t so bad. Not that we didn’t struggle, we definitely did. I owe a lot of my success to the people I worked with. We would see on the news every day how many people and healthcare workers around the world were dying. I think the pandemic really divided us as a society. People were so angry.

Q. What were the most common pieces of misinformation about COVID-19?

A. One thing that always and still to this day bothers me is when people say “it’s not so bad”. I always struggle with finding an appropriate answer in that you are fortunate that it’s not so bad for you, but so many others have suffered and lost loved ones. That’s one of my weaknesses, I guess.

Q. At what point did you realize that you wanted to extend your education to a post-graduate degree?

A. I think it was something that I always wanted to do, but the under utilization of Nurse Practitioners in New Brunswick really challenged my ability to learn more about them. Fortunately, I worked with some outstanding NPs in the emergency department who are unbelievable care providers who really inspired me. I was able to work with and learn from many of them. It helped me understand the NP role and the challenges they face.

Q. You are engaged to be married and have recently bought a home. How is this affecting your studies?

A. Last year was a big year for change. Change makes everyone uncomfortable. I got engaged to my lovely fiancé, Anthony, and we bought our first home together and moved to Ontario. It was certainly scary to leave everything I knew behind. I started a new school in a new city and had to make new friends. I am really fortunate to have him, he continues to support me and is my number one cheerleader. He is currently cleaning the house as we speak, so I can spend more time on my studies. I will be forever grateful to him.

Q. What do you plan to do after your graduation? What career do you think you’ll choose?

A. Step one is to get to graduation. I attempt to take things one day at a time. I’ve had a bit of exposure in different areas. I’ve done some work in primary care. Currently, my clinical placement is within a specialty clinic. I’m always drawn back to emergency and urgent care, and that’s probably because it’s what I’m comfortable with. I’m hoping to find my way again as I work through the program.

Q. Here is a question from a guest of “20 Questions… Answered!”. What is the most considerable difference that you will make as a Nurse Practitioner, and what drove you to consider this as a career?

A. I think becoming a nurse practitioner is something that I’ve always wanted to do once I started learning about the role of the NP in undergrad. I think, after all, I am still a nurse, and I am still helping people. There are some differences. The scope of the NP was something that I was always drawn to; just being able to take nursing care one step further. It’s that ultimate goal of increasing access to primary care providers, breaking down those barriers and bettering patient’s health and wellbeing. I also had the opportunity to learn from some wonderful nurse practitioners at the Saint John Regional Hospital emergency department, who really took me under their wing and showed me all the things that I could achieve.

Q. What person or persons had the biggest influence in your life?

A. As I mentioned before, I’m very close to my family. My relationship with my mother has certainly evolved over the years. She’s always been my go-to person. I saw her succeed and achieve things through adversity and the challenges that she faced. I will forever be grateful for her. The relationship with my dad and stepmother continues to grow, especially now that I’m older. I have fond memories of my childhood with them.

Q. If you and your partner could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?

A. Anthony would have to be somewhere warm, he doesn’t tolerate any kind of cold temperature. For me, it would be somewhere in Europe.

Q. What kind of long-term health effects are you starting to see with patients that have contracted COVID-19?

A. Just speaking from anecdotal experience, something that’s becoming more common is things like prolonged COVID-19 syndrome. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of evidence yet as things are still early in development. Understanding that there are various physiological systems that are impacted, and long-lasting effects are being noticed. Cognitive challenges, chronic respiratory issues, cardiovascular issues; there is a whole plethora of these long-term problems. I think it’s starting to gain more appreciation and people are starting to learn more about it. Although it feels like we’ve been doing this for a long time, it really hasn’t been that long. The literature is really just attempting to catch up. Currently, there is not a complete data that predicts who will have long-term effects and who won’t.

Q. You have a grown-up and worked in the province of New Brunswick, a largely rural province. But now you’re studying in Ontario, which is much more populated and metropolitan. What are the negatives and positives of each?

A. One thing that I like about healthcare in smaller areas is that you get to know people differently. Whether that’s healthcare providers or patients and their families, it’s more personable. This can also be seen as a con regarding things such as confidentiality. Word travels quick, as they say. The nice thing about healthcare in Ontario is that there is an abundance of more resources, and they are unique, and I’ve never encountered them before or knew they existed. A con can also be that sometimes I feel like a small fish in a big pond. I wonder how I can make change on a systematic level or within my practice. I think small change is good change.

Q. What advice would you give to students who are considering becoming nurses as a profession?

A. I would say to know your limitations. That goes with having to look after yourself because we focus on actively and effectively looking after others. Nurses are some of the hardest working people that I’ve ever met. It’s a very challenging profession. There are good things about it and there are certainly numerous challenges as well. Get yourself out there and get involved in things. Learn from those who have an abundance and variety of experience.

Q. You made many connections and close friends while you were working at the Saint John Regional Hospital. Would you like to name a few of the ones that have influenced you the most?

A. I don’t know if we have enough time for that. The entire team in the emergency department are some of the best people you could ever work with. I have learned so much from them and have so much respect for them. I miss them so much. Anyone who works there are the best of the best, and I love and respect you. I also got to interact with different departments. I love my respiratory therapists and everyone in diagnostic imaging. I learned so much from them and built some great friendships.

Q. What person, dead or alive, would you consider to be a hero of yours?

A. Ruth Bader Ginsburg is probably a cliché one to say, but she did so much for gender equality and women’s rights. She paved the way for that era. Oh! For heroes, I would also mention Marsha P Johnson.

Q. Thank you very much for answering my questions.

A. You are most welcome.

Editor’s note: This is a transcript of a telephone call. I have edited it to remove long silences, illegible sounds and for clarity.

Transcription and editing services provided by Shalyn Arseneau

Want to be an insider? Stay up to date?

Please subscribe to stay informed. It is 100% certified free!