Choosing to Make a Difference – Justin Morris

Sometimes a small gesture can make a huge impact – like walking by someone’s hospital room and giving a quick thumbs-up, or a “you’re looking well today.” For Helga and Daniel Ledene, from Brooks, a young registered nurse named Justin Morris made a lasting impact.

When asked why they donate to the Medicine Hat & District Health Foundation, Helga explained that the care her husband received as a patient in Unit 4 West at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital last year prompted them to give back to local healthcare as “grateful patients”.

As Helga explained, at the time of his admittance, Daniel’s health had been failing and he was not having his best moments. Justin took the time to make a connection by talking about their shared backgrounds, as he had grown up in the Brooks area, and they have mutual family friends. This connection made a big difference to Daniel’s time in the hospital and created a lasting impression. In Helga’s words, “Justin had a lovely demeanour and approach, and really seemed to care. He took moments to make a difference.”

Justin has been a registered nurse for 8 years. Following a short career as a welder, he changed paths and took his nursing training through Medicine Hat College. He likes to say he moved east from Brooks and only made it as far as Medicine Hat. Justin chose to become a nurse after suffering a serious accident and losing two close friends to brain cancer. The time he spent in hospitals, as a friend and as a patient, motivated him to pursue nursing as a career.

When asked what sets him apart in this case he shrugged and said, “Maybe that I am male and that I could relate to their farming background and converse about rural life.” But there is more to it, Justin viewed this gentleman as a challenge. He laughed while admitting he loves a good challenge, “I always like to find a connection and start chatting. I can tell when they are starting to like me and open up a bit.”

Justin has recently taken a position at Cypress View Foundation, a long-term care and supportive living facility. He also maintains a position as a casual employee at the Medicine Hat Regional Hospital to keep current on his acute care skills. He is enjoying geriatric nursing at his new workplace as it allows him to develop relationships with the residents.

When asked how he felt to get this recognition, he humbly replied, “It is nice. I guess I am making a difference.”