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August 22, 2019
When Shannon Cupri graduated from high school, she applied to CEGEP to become either a nurse or a police officer. She was accepted in both programs. Tossing a coin, she opted for nursing and has never looked back.
Shannon is a registered nurse on the Inpatient Unit at the Montreal Chest Institute (MCI) of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). She has been a fixture on the ward for 22 years. The MCI was her first job out of nursing school and despite having tried a few other nursing positions over the years, the MCI has always been her home away from home.
“The inpatient ward is a demanding place to work,” Shannon admits. “You give a lot of yourself, but you get it back 10 times over. A smile on someone’s face, a ‘thank you’ when they go home, makes it all worthwhile.”
Shannon is well aware that the last place anyone wants to be is in a hospital. “It’s a scary place for patients and their families. I try to make things very comfortable for them and as painless as possible. Knowing that I am making a difference in someone’s life is very gratifying,” she says.
The MCI moved from an old building on Saint-Urbain Street to the ultra-modern MUHC Glen site in 2015, yet Shannon says the MCI maintains its small hospital vibe and is as warm and friendly as ever.
“The camaraderie amongst the staff hasn’t changed,” she says. “Everyone from the doctors and nurses to the housekeeping and kitchen staff are part of one big team. We are committed to providing great care.”
“The new hospital is a huge improvement for our patients,” Shannon continues. “At the old place, there were four patients to a room. There wasn’t much privacy. We didn’t even have air conditioning. Summer heat waves were very hard on our patients who have breathing problems,” she says. “Today, each patient has a private room and air conditioning. This is priceless.”
The other big bonus for MCI patients is that the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) is next door. This makes it so much easier for MCI patients to see specialists and to have tests and procedures done. “Before patients had to be bundled up and transported by ambulance to the old RVH for these procedures. Now, we simply take the patient downstairs for tests. It is much more convenient and so much easier on our patients,” Shannon insists.
Asked if she regretted turning down the opportunity to become a police officer, the nurse replies, “I have no regrets. I ended up in the best possible place for myself. I get up every day and love going to work. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I called in sick! I love the team at the MCI. Many of our patients have chronic conditions, so we really get to know them. We are like a big family.”