Health care heroes continue to emerge during strain of pandemic
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Health care heroes continue to emerge during strain of pandemic Featured

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Andrea Ruiz is a multi-talented health care professional who helps when and where she is needed.

When the pandemic struck in mid-March 2020, she was working as a PSW at Helen Henderson Care Centre and studying to become a Recreation Professional; her dream-job.

Shortly after beginning her new position in the home’s Recreation Department, she was asked to return to work as a PSW to shore-up the lack of health care workers caused by the pandemic. Andrea said yes.

A few months later in April 2021, she returned to the recreation job she worked so hard to obtain.

“I love it,” she exclaims when asked about her job. “I love working with seniors, especially those with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s my passion. I want them to know they matter and that they are heard. My past has taught me the importance of having a voice for others. I think it’s important to carry that over to this work. Putting a smile on someone’s face makes them feel safe and comfortable. I like to bring people joy and bring them back to themselves. That’s why I’m here. I feel like that’s what I’m meant to do.”

Although she is missed in the Nursing Department, Andrea has already proven to be an asset in the Recreation Department which earned her the home’s Employee of the Month award for May.


“I am so happy to have Andrea on the recreation team,” says Donna Joudoin, Recreation Manager. “Throughout her time as a PSW, Andrea always said she would enjoy working in recreation. She enrolled in the Recreation Therapy Program and earned her diploma. Andrea has worked hard to get here, and we couldn’t be prouder of her. Congratulations Andrea for pursing a field that you have been so passionate about!”

Speaking for the Nursing Department, Director of Care Sue Reynolds notes, “Andrea is a wonderful member of the Helen Henderson family. To say she is flexible is an understatement. She is trained as a PSW, but followed her heart earlier this year to work in our Recreation Department. When the Nursing Department became strained from the COVID-19 pandemic, she returned and applied her nursing skills. We are incredibly grateful for her assistance and happy to see her back in the Recreation Department where she is clearly enjoying herself.”

Prior to joining the home, Andrea worked for 11 years with the Elizabeth Fry Society helping women in conflict with the law. She spent one-summer with the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Clothesline program.

“I’ve been treated very well since I’ve been here,” she says about her time at the accredited retirement lodge and long-term care home where she has worked for the past nine years. “I’m a single parent. My son has epilepsy. I feel supported here which makes a big difference.”

When she’s not at work, Andrea likes to spend time with her son and hike.

“I really enjoy being a mother. I absolutely adore my son,” she explains.

Asked to describe herself, she replies, “I’m a bit of a social introvert.”

Questions for Andrea

If you weren’t at your current job, what would you be doing?

“I’d be a teacher of recreation therapy in long-term care or a Recreation Director.”

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

“Invisibility so I can see what has been missed.”

If you could rule the world, what would you do on day one?

“I’d create a more equal society. I feel very fortunate to live in Canada, especially as a woman. There are systematic issues that create a lot of problems for people who are marginalized. I think we need to have a kinder society.”

Helen Henderson Care Centre is grateful for the diverse skillset of Andrea Ruiz. To learn more about living or working in our home, please call 613-384-4585.

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