A local nurse is heading to Ottawa to be honoured by his alma matter for 16 years of nursing and health care leadership.
Frederick Montpetit will be recognized as an Alqonquin College Alumni of Distinction on Sept. 27.
“Fred’s achievements are outstanding,” said Algonquin College President Cheryl Jensen. “From working on the front lines of a hectic emergency department to his leadership as the first-ever Chief Nursing Officer of Nunavut, he has demonstrated what it’s possible to achieve with an Algonquin College education.”
Montpetit’s impressive healthcare career has included positions with the Government of Nunavut, where he served as the community’s first Chief Nursing Officer from 2009 to 2013. His various roles have included emergency services, rural and remote community primary care, community health, public health and communicable disease control.
He joined Island Health in 2016 as a Community Health Nurse in Tofino and Ucluelet.
“We are extremely pleased to congratulate Fred on this significant honour,” said Island Health Rural Director Sherryl Hoskins. “He is an integral part of our team on the West Coast, and our community is very fortunate to be benefitting from his skills and experience.”
Montpetit told the Westerly News he discovered Ucluelet during a roadtrip with his wife in 2015 that covered 36,000 kilometres across Canada.
“My wife and I, two and a half years ago, sold our house in Toronto and went on a road trip and said we’d find where we wanted to live when we found it. That’s how we found Ucluelet,” he said.
“I love what I do and I love doing it here in Ucluelet. This is a paradise.”
Nursing was a second career for Montpetit, who started out as a clergyman, and he said Alqonquin gave him the tools he needed to succeed.
“Alqonquin College provided me with a fantastic basis to enter nursing,” he said.
“It was a problem based learning style of study, which means you’re never spoon fed. You were taught to learn in multiple circumstances. I knew how to learn as opposed to knowing what the answer was.”
Montpetit is originally from Ontario and said his nursing career opened the door for traveling opportunities and helped him explore the country.
“It’s a portable career…If you’re a nurse educated in Canada, most of the world is open to you to practice,” he said. “I’m an explorer and an adventurer and nursing gave me that opportunity.”
He added working with people is his favourite part of the profession.
“I love nursing. I love what I do. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. I know that I make a difference with people. I love the fact that everyday I meet people. I’m a people person so meeting people and having positive encounters with people are always highlights of my day,” he said.
“Every day in my work, I am inspired by the pleasure of having a one-on-one conversation with a patient…Nursing, for me, has always been about that connection. I am honoured to be selected for this award from Algonquin College, and privileged to work with patients on the West Coast.”
He said he was “caught off guard” when he was notified of his Alumni of Distinction honour.
“I didn’t know that Alqonquin knew what I had done in my career. I don’t know who nominated me” he said. “With the Facebook generation now, I know what my classmates do. I know where they practice and I look at some of the things my classmates have accomplished and think to myself, ‘Wow they’ve done awesome things with their careers.’ I was a little bit blown away that it was me. I was quite honoured.”
Montpetit is one of 10 Alqonquin alumni being recognized with the distinction accolade and one of six in the running to be the College’s Ontario Premier’s Awards nominees.
The Premier’s Awards will be announced at a Nov. 27 ceremony in Toronto.
“I want to congratulate Frederick on this great honour he is receiving,” said Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser.
“Frederick’s selfless dedication is a testament to his leadership as well as those in his care throughout the region.”