Get to know Martine Ouédraogo, a clinical nurse who works in the Operational Stress Injury Clinic at Ste. Anne’s Hospital. She’s someone who always wants to do more to help and who describes herself as a “Québécoise pure soie!”
Ms. Ouédraogo, please tell us about your academic background.
“When I arrived in Québec I was 24 years old. I had to take adult education classes to get the equivalencies I needed and obtain my high school diploma. Shortly after that I registered for a course to become a beneficiary attendant.
After the birth of my children, I went back to school at Cégep André-Laurendeau in 2005. Three years later I graduated with a diploma of college studies (DEC) in nursing, and I passed the OIIQ exam. Wanting to continue my studies, I started studying for my bachelor’s degree in nursing sciences at the Université du Québec en Outaouais at the Saint-Jérôme campus. And in 2012 I graduated with my degree!”
And your experiences in healthcare?
“I started out as a beneficiary attendant at the Centre d’hébergement de LaSalle. After that I worked on the Unité familiale de naissances at the Hôpital de LaSalle from 2008 to 2010. At the same time I was a member of the floating team at Ste. Anne’s Hospital. Then, from 2010 to 2016, I worked the night shift at the residential treatment program for operational stress injuries at Ste. Anne’s Hospital. Finally, in April 2016, I was hired as a nurse clinician on the day shift at the Operational Stress Injury Clinic.”
Where are the clients at the Operational Stress Injury Clinic from?
“Our clients include discharged Canadian Armed Forces personnel, active and retired members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and members of their families. At the Pain Management Clinic also sees active Armed Forces personnel for physical assessments and recommendations, along with the veterans receiving treatment.”
What are your clients’ primary health issues?
‘Our clients deal with a variety of mental health issues. Some are dealing with trauma resulting from operational stress during their years in the military or with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A number of them came very close to death, for example. Some are having difficulty reintegrating into civilian life or are dealing with addictions. Still others are dealing with anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia, panic attacks, and isolation. And lastly, there are clients with depression and a comorbidity.
Sometimes trauma that is related to an operational stress injury can take several years before it becomes apparent. And when that happens, a person’s life can turn upside down from one day to the next.
What are your primary responsibilities?
For almost two years now I have been the assistant to the interim immediate supervisor, I advise and supervise the clinical nurses. I also see to their training needs and help them to develop their skills. I also plan, coordinate, and supervise the clinical activities we provide to our clients. In addition to that, I assign the cases to our nurses and handle cases myself.’
What did you enjoy most about your work?
“I like building solid, trusting relationships with our clients; relationships that are built on respect and listening. Quite humbly, I think I’m at my best when I’m helping people, especially in the mental health field. I like being there to witness the small victories that gradually help to steer our clients onto the road to recovery. They are often suffering in silence, so we need to be patient with them and help them open up.
I also enjoy being part of an interdisciplinary team. I can easily ask for advice from colleagues who are specialists in various fields.”
Ms. Ouédraogo also agreed to tell us a little bit about her personal life.
Can you tell us a little about you and your family?
“I was born in Burkina Faso, in western Africa. I am the oldest of nine children. My siblings all still live in my home country with my mother.
I took the expression ‘Qui prend mari prend pays’ to heart when I moved to Québec, as the man I was to marry already lived here. I am the proud mother of Ilyson, Ilymon, and Ilyton, three young men who are all in their twenties now. “
What are your favourite pastimes?
“I love cycling and reading scientific journals. But my real passion is music, and I listen to a range of genres. And I love having friends over to share a good meal with Burkinabé flavours.”
What is something few people know about you?
“I am increasingly interested in international politics.”
“When I was a beneficiary attendant, I used to watch the nurses. That’s where I caught the nursing bug,” says the star of our feature story this month. The photo shows Martine Ouédraogo, centre, in the company of nurse clinician Andrée-Anne Cuillier (left) and social worker Bogena Nastalek (right). »
“The Operational Stress Injury Clinic has more than 600 clients, not including some 150 clients who receive services at the Longueuil service site. And the Pain Management Clinic has about 400 clients,” says Ms. Ouédraogo, pictured with Johane Bayard, an administrative agent. »