Practical Nursing graduate receives Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal

Honorary Lieutenant-General Richard Rohmer (left) and Rebecca Thomas-Lorenzon at the awards ceremony in Windsor.

Rebecca Thomas-Lorenzon may be a recent graduate, but the Class of 2019 alumna has already made a huge mark as a medical professional with more than 20 years of exceptional service.

Rebecca was recently honoured with the Governor General’s Exemplary Service Medal from Northumberland County Council. This award recognizes paramedics who have provided pre-hospital emergency medical services in good conduct, industry and efficiency for 20 years or more, serving at least 10 years of street level or air duty involving potential risk.

“I felt very honored to receive the Governor General award, especially being a female,” said Rebecca. “I am the first female working on the road in Northumberland County to receive this award. So many women leave the road to pursue management or teaching and other [jobs] for personal reasons; not many stay on the road 10 years, let alone 23 years.”

Rebecca (right) with her aunt Sharon, who received this award years prior and is retired after 35 years in Waterloo region. Sharon is Rebecca’s role model, along with Fleming faculty member Mary Osinga. “Both are strong female paramedics that have forged the way for other women in the profession,” said Rebecca.

While serving as a first responder with Northumberland Paramedics, Rebecca also decided to go back to school, hoping to increase her career opportunities in the medical field.

“I knew I did not want to go into management,” Rebecca shared. “I took the Practical Nursing course as part of a childhood dream to become a nurse and my desire to do more international work.”

Rebecca chose Fleming College because of its proximity, which made balancing school with her full-time career and personal responsibilities (Rebecca is a mom and wife) more manageable. She chose the Practical Nursing program after speaking with nurses, who recommended this program for the hands-on skills she would gain.

“I developed very good time management skills which helped me get through the past two years,” Rebecca shared about her Fleming experience. “I have a better insight into the healthcare system and healthcare in general, which I hope will be an advantage for me when pursuing the Community Paramedic role coming in 2020 in Northumberland County.”

Rebecca said she is especially grateful for Career Services at Fleming College, which helped Rebecca update her resume and cover letter for employment as an RPN. She is currently working part-time at Northumberland Hills Hospital and says, “I suggest this amazing service to all Fleming students (young and old) and it is free!”

The Fleming graduate has no plans to slow down with her career or her education journey, as one of the quotes she lives by is “End is not the end. E.N.D. means Effort Never Dies.” Her next goal is to pursue her Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Practical Nursing student prepares to take the plunge

rachel-warrenRachel Warren does not like the cold. The fourth-semester Practical Nursing student is known to wear a sweater on a hot summer night, which is why it surprised Rachel’s friends and family when she signed up for the 25th Annual Polar Plunge in Campbellford, Ont.

The Polar Plunge is Saturday, Jan. 28, and is hosted by the Auxiliary to Campbellford Memorial Hospital. The Hospital is fundraising for a PACS (Picture Archive and Communication System ) Workstation and a Cystoscope (a tube with a camera on the end to aid internal medicine procedures).

“My friends and family all thought I was crazy for doing something like this. I mean they’re not wrong, I will be jumping into a frozen river in the middle of winter!” said Rachel, who heard about the Plunge through an email sent by an instructor to nursing students. “I thought it was a great thing to do. The fundraiser is raising money for a good cause– and also it is on my bucket list to do a Polar Plunge.”

Rachel persuaded her boyfriend to join and they will plunge as Team The Freezing Ice Holes. “He’s very supportive,” said Rachel, adding that they are busy creating costumes to wear to the event.

Participating in the Polar Plunge for a hospital fundraiser seems like a natural fit for Rachel, who is in the Practical Nursing program at Fleming College.

“My childhood best friend’s mom is a nurse. She always came home so happy and would tell us all the positive and rewarding things that happened during her day. She inspired me,” said Rachel on why she decided to pursue a nursing career. “I wanted to have a job where I was that happy. As I got older, I realized I loved helping and caring for people.”

Rachel said she chose Fleming College because she heard positive things about the program. “I heard lots of people were successful in the program and were able to find jobs after graduating,” she said. “In addition, clinical was started right away in the first semester, which I thought was great because I am a hands-on learner and clinical placements are the best for that.”

The Fleming College student is looking forward to taking a break from her studies next week to take the Polar Plunge—and to get out of the water. “To be honest, I am looking forward to getting warm after the Plunge,” she joked. “I am also looking forward to seeing how much everyone was able to raise for the Hospital.”

Rachel encourages other to support the cause by donating a dollar or two. “Anything helps, really,” she said.