Newmarket nurse’s passion for knitting connects with community

While waiting for her Ontario nursing license to be reinstated, Calandra Coward has had time to focus on another passion that has meaning in her life.

Calandra Coward is passionate about many things. She loves breastfeeding, knitting and travelling. She managed to find a way to integrate all three into her life.

Coward is a registered nurse who is ready to work but needs her license reinstated to practice in Ontario, so she has to wait and knit.

Coward and her husband, Gavin, are both from Newmarket and met in primary school. After graduating from Thunder Bay, she worked as a Registered Nurse in Medicine and Cardiac Surgery at Southlake Regional Health Centre.

Shortly after their 2019 wedding, Gavin was accepted into the Canadian Coast Guard College, so the newlyweds traveled to Sydney, Nova Scotia, where Coward got a job in the hospital’s emergency department. Cape Breton Regional.

While waiting to start working, Coward turned to her lifelong passion for knitting.

A prolific knitter, Coward attended local craft shows and began teaching. She also designs and sells patterns and handcrafted items on her website, The knitting nurse.

“I feel like it helped me connect with the community there as well. You know, you’re ‘from afar.’ hard to get into the cliques because everyone knows everyone and you’re the new girl…I found knitting really helped me connect with the community there, which I really liked it.”

Part of Gavin’s training involves being at sea for long periods of time – currently he’s on the CCGS Terry Fox, a Canadian Coast Guard heavy icebreaker, for eight months – and Coward decided to explore his passion for travel.

“So I thought instead of sitting on my ass in Sydney, I could do nursing trips.”

A travel nurse works on contract in hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities. They fill short-term positions or casual positions to fill staffing shortages.

Coward took up a posting in Huntsville and returned to her home in Newmarket to see her family.

When she obtained a nursing license in Nova Scotia – every jurisdiction in Canada requires a provincial license to practice nursing – she changed Ontario’s to “non-practicing” to save the annual license fee of $600.

This means her license must be reinstated before she can practice in Ontario, which she says is “taking longer than expected.”

The wait is “a bit frustrating”, she says, and the lack of income is “stressful”.

“I’m ready to work and I want to work, the (College of Nurses of Ontario) is holding me back with the license…I saw on the news that they were trying to bring in international nurses, so they’ I I’m probably busy with this. It’s a little frustrating for me because I had my license in Ontario, they have all my information. So I’m sitting here patiently waiting, fingers crossed.

In the meantime, she knits.

She recently completed a sweater pattern and plans to design patterns for more sweaters, as well as hats and socks to sell on her website.

” It’s going very well ; I’m definitely not a big fanciful designer. It makes me a little money, but it’s fun. »

After the move to Huntsville, Coward said she hopes to spend the spring working in British Columbia and after that, the summer in the Yukon.

If her husband finishes early, he’ll just have to visit her in the territory, she said, because she’s not cutting this trip short for the world.

Coward has no plans to give up breastfeeding for knitting. She is equally passionate about both and each serves a purpose in her life.

“I still love nursing. I think the pandemic has raised questions for many nurses, myself included, about why we do what we do, but I think I enjoy both in tandem because i love the mental stimulation of nursing and science.and of course caring for people…and then i come home and relax knitting and i don’t have to talk to no one.”

Coward said she and Gavin haven’t decided where they will settle. The original plan was to stay in Nova Scotia because housing is much more affordable, but he can work from any coast and Coward could continue to travel.

The pandemic may have helped shape their decision to settle so far from home.

“We haven’t been able to see our parents for about a year and a half and we were like, ‘Oh, maybe we should move out, it’s not nice’…we’ll see.”