CSVN Member Highlight

Meet Shannon Desilets RN BSN MSN, Vascular Clinical Nurse Specialist

Kelowna General Hospital, Kelowna BC

What you enjoy about the division of vascular surgery?

A better question is… what is not to enjoy about the division of vascular surgery?

It is the most complex and challenging patient population that I as a nurse can help care for. It requires a team approach, with every specialty coming together to gain successful outcomes for the vascular patients. It has the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. It allows me as a nurse to experience nursing privilege every single shift, as I am allowed to enter into the vulnerable worlds of the vascular patients. It reflects a true blend of the science and art (empathetic care) found within the nursing profession as I holistically care for the vascular patients. It allows me as a nurse to cheerlead those forward, and cry as those fall. 

What are your challenges?

My challenges are advocating for the vulnerable vascular patients who are often misunderstood or unheard in the busy flow of the healthcare system. It is remembering, and reminding others, to focus on “the person” and not simply “the patient”. It is hearing the surgeons say “there is nothing more to be done” and then sitting with the patients as they process what has been said. It is trying to alleviate the fears of the unknown, but promising to be at their side as “we” travel the path together. It is having the time to truly just be.

What are your victories and successes?

My victories are the relationships that can be built with the vascular patients. All too often, a vascular patient is seen more than once, and very caring, trusting relationships can be built. It is seeing the patient smile through their tears as they realize you are standing strong beside them, and cheering them forward. It is giving that high-five, a much needed hug or shedding tears alongside them. My biggest successes are breaking through to the most challenging of patients as they realize I am there for them. I respect the nursing privilege and lessons afforded to me each and every day as I care for the vascular patients.

Where do see yourself in the future?
In the future, I hope to gain my Nurse Practitioner license in order to be a better nursing version of me as I continue to care for the vascular patients. They have my nursing heart, and I cannot see myself anywhere else, other than by their sides.

What do you feel are your career highlights?

A career highlight was granting a wish of a vascular patient who was facing a lower limb amputation. He wanted one last dance before his surgery, and he asked me to dance with him in the hallway of our ward. I graciously accepted and we danced. To simply be present with him as he faced such a challenge, and travel along his path from vascular bypass, limb loss and prosthetic fitting was truly a nursing privilege. He made me a better vascular nurse and person, and for that, I thank him.