Russ Brown never predicted he would be back in the classroom after more than 23 years in the workforce, but when the COVID-19 pandemic impacted his job in the travel industry, he seized the opportunity to forge a new path.
“I think COVID allowed a lot of people, including myself, to take a step back and really ask themselves – where am I at in life and where do I want to go from here,” Russ said.
For Russ, this meant selling his home in Moncton, moving to Pennfield to be closer to family, and enrolling in NBCC’S Personal Support Worker (PSW) program to pursue a new career that better aligned with his desire to serve others.
“I’m a very empathetic person, so I really wanted to use that to make a difference in someone’s life, especially someone who may be nearing the end of their life, or someone who is very ill,” said Russ. “Just knowing that I’m improving someone’s life during the time that they are with me is incredibly fulfilling.”
Although he was nervous about returning to school as a mature learner, he quickly earned the respect of his fellow students and instructors. He also made positive impressions during his clinicals and practicum placements. During his time in the hospital and nursing home, he prioritized making meaningful connections with patients and taking full advantage of his time working alongside experienced Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) and PSWs.
“I was partnered with a great PSW, and our personalities just clicked,” said Russ. “I really got to know what the role of a PSW is and what we do. It was a wonderful experience.”
As he prepares to graduate and enter the workforce, Russ feels more confident than ever in his decision to change career paths and encourages others to pursue their own dreams.
“My advice would be to follow what your heart is telling you. Life is very short, and we have to take advantage of the opportunities that we have in front of us. So, if you have an opportunity, grab it and go!”