More than 4,000 students have graduated from McMaster's nursing programs. Here we meet Joanne De Rubeis, RN, BScN, OCT, Founder and President of Gold Cross Home Care
BScN, Class of 1987
I am the Owner and President of a Home Care Agency that I founded 5 years ago, called Gold Cross Home Care. The vision and mission of my company is to provide the highest quality of care to individuals so that they can remain happy, comfortable, dignified and independent in their homes. We have a large staff of Personal Support Workers (PSWs), Companions and Caregivers. We empower and train them to adapt their care to the needs of our clients. This requires additional training on strong assessment skills, communication, critical thinking, safety, ethical behaviour and problem solving skills. Sound familiar? Our agency won the Platinum Award in the Reader's Choice Awards in the Hamilton Spectator for the third year in a row. My greatest honour was being named #81 out of 100 of Canada's Top Female Entrepreneurs for 2016.
How I Got Here:
Initially, I worked on a Medical Surgical Unit at St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton (the hospital where I was born). I moved into Public Health for the City of Hamilton where I worked with diverse populations including the Seniors Team. Here I developed my passion for assisting isolated individuals, who needed assistance navigating the complex health care system. I saw the strong impact of the social determinants of health on individuals. I also worked on the School Team, which included self-esteem groups, family planning clinics and prenatal classes. I loved the variety! My skills from my nursing education, such as critical thinking, assessment, problem solving, self-directed learning, constructive feedback and RESOURCEFULNESS guided my journey. It was always a joy to be a mentor for nursing students from McMaster.
I created the Personal Support Worker (PSW) Program for the Hamilton Catholic School Board and developed a provincial-wide program for PSW education and training. I returned to school at The University of Toronto and proudly obtained my Bachelor of Education and became an Ontario Certified Teacher. My passion for the highest quality of care and the promotion of dignity and independence to older adults further deepened. At my students' placements, I saw the apathetic approach and negligence of care, compassion and empowerment to patients and had a burning desire to fill those gaps in the system and in our community. My dream and vision for quality care provision developed and was fulfilled through the creation of my company Gold Cross Home Care.
Why I Chose McMaster:
McMaster was my first choice to study Nursing due to the appeal of the small group and problem-based learning. I chose to study Nursing because I enjoyed helping others and had a great interest in health and wellness. I am a proud Hamiltonian; both of my brothers went to McMaster University and I felt that it was a natural fit for me.
How My Experience at Mac has helped me:
My education at McMaster provided me with lifelong gifts, including effective communication skills and the ability to develop an ethical and professional relationship with my clients, patients and coworkers. Initially, I was shy, but working collaboratively as a student in small groups helped me develop confidence and the awareness of group dynamics. As a student nurse, problem-solving and self-directed-learning were challenges. However, those experiences always led to new knowledge. The variety and choices of practicums, courses and projects allowed me to develop my areas of interest within nursing. Learning at McMaster went beyond memorizing pages of new information, knowledge, procedures or learning skills. We had the power to define our learning goals and objectives, and to decide if we achieved them, along with feedback from our tutors and preceptors, as a team. It was an unbelievable feeling of empowerment! Our new knowledge always incorporated communication and critical thinking. If we didn't know an answer, we had to go and find it. This taught us collaboration, cooperation and a sense of collegiality – the definition of Nursing! I think that Nursing is the best profession due to the multitude of paths and the power to make change in our communities and beyond and to make a difference in the lives of others. Thank you McMaster University! I love being a Nurse.
If you are a graduate of the BScN program at McMaster, we'd love to hear from you and learn about your experiences. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.