I have always wanted to give back to a profession that has given me so much – “when the kids are older”. That opportunity presented itself in 2018 with Co-Chairing the RTSOs PTSD Task Force. I hope to continue making positive changes with this and other projects.
I graduated from Fanshawe College in 1990. Over my 30-year career, I have practiced at a Trauma Center (Hamilton Health Sciences-General Site) and Homecare (Medigas). I have been working at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton for the past 20 years, holding various positions but currently (10+ years) as Senior Therapist-Pulmonary Rehabilitation and the STOP program for smoking cessation.
One thing that stands out for me was doing my homework when deciding on this career. I was well versed on the cost of shift-work and high divorce-rates in HCWs – but no one EVER discussed the toll it would take on Mental Health. No one talked about this. I remember promising myself, as a student, that I would never become “that bitter, angry” RT at the sunset of my career – obviously, not fully comprehending what that meant.
I have had the privilege of working with wonderful clinicians from many disciplines and have learned and continue to learn from many of my patients. I am very fortunate to have a Clinical Psychologist in the Pulmonary Rehab program who has taught me the value of cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and resilience. It was through osmosis that I began to understand that much of the “bitter, angry” descriptors are actually symptoms of something bigger. RRT exclusion from the First Responders Act became my tipping point that things must change… let’s pave an improved path for those entering our profession.
During my down time I enjoy time with family, gardening, reading, learning to paint with acrylics and dreaming of retirement out of the city, by the water.
I welcome you to reach out to me on issues relating to PTSD, occupational stress, moral distress, and anxiety. What would you like to see? Are there other issues that you would like addressed? Together, we can continue to promote and enhance our role within all sectors and specialties.
Fatima Foster, RRT CRE
Pulmonary Rehabilitation/STOP Program
905-522-1155 ext. 33492
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton
T8117-50 Charlton Ave E
Hamilton, ON L8N 4A6