May is a part-time Registered Nurse (RN) and a Chief Steward at Yee Hong (YH). She is also a part-time Behaviour Support Nurse in the Behavioural Supports Ontario program (BSO).
Being able to diagnose her residents’ behaviours and determine appropriate interventions for them holds a lot of meaning to May, in that she can help everyone in the process.
“It means a lot to me that I can help make my colleagues’ jobs easier. Together, we help our residents find meaning in their lives and help them to calm down in their nursing homes.
“When our residents are in good hands, their families feel at ease. I think it is a blessing that I can help people every day and make a living while doing it.”
May is also advocate for mental health, which is a crucial component of care.
“I feel so good when I see my residents feeling comfortable and experiencing as few issues as possible. When they are happy and thinking positively, it’s easier to manage their physical illnesses.”
She wishes to see her members happy at YH as well, and she makes it her goal as a Chief Steward to encourage union involvement despite initial concerns.
“I am proud to be part of SEIU Healthcare. I feel the staff is doing their best for our members and is always striving to improve their services, such as offering many online training courses and changing how they view politics. At first, half of our members disliked the union because a portion of their pay goes toward it.”
“Still, our steward team never gave up. We support each other and contribute to our members in different ways, from new staff orientation to rebating money. I advise members to report any unacceptable behaviour they experience from their employers. In my experience, communication with members is key in getting them involved.”
Unsuccessful grievances and low funding in long-term care, among other issues, still exist in healthcare; May shows no signs of quitting her duties and hopes to see her members make small steps toward creating change.
“I will continue advising members to participate in political activities organized by SEIU Healthcare, like picketing and canvassing, and encourage them to connect with our brothers and sisters in other workplaces. It’s so important to widen our network and learn things outside our workplace that can help us be better leaders of tomorrow.”