Joshua Paterson: A former construction business owner discovers a new career in nursing

When the global financial crisis struck in 2009, Joshua Paterson owned a construction company in Australia that did not survive the recession.

He had to take a fresh look at his career options.

“I was drawn to healthcare,” reflected Joshua, RN, Emergency Department, ARH. “I was always interested in serving other people and having a career where you work closely with colleagues. I thought I’d try out nursing and I’m still here today.”

Joshua was born and raised in Australia and found his way to Canada after he and his Canadian wife had their two daughters.

“Once we had our kids, my wife wanted to try living over here, so we decided to give it a crack,” said Joshua. “It’s been good – there are a lot of similarities to back home but obviously the weather is vastly different.”

Joshua Paterson, RN, Emergency Department

The Emergency Department experience

When Joshua first came out of university, he was most interested in critical care and focused his work on this specialty at Australian hospitals. Joshua’s first job in Canada was at Toronto Western Hospital in the Medical-Surgical Intensive Care Unit before his family moved to Arnprior at the beginning of the pandemic.

Soon after Joshua’s start in ARH’s Inpatient Unit, he moved to the Emergency Department.

“Similar to critical care, I like the chaos and unpredictability of emergency medicine,” shared Joshua. “One minute it is quiet and the next it is not. You have to be able to work with your team to get the outcome that you want, and every day there is something new and challenging.”

Leadership growth

Joshua came into nursing with substantial leadership experience that he has begun leveraging more formally. He recently stepped into the local union president role at ARH and has been pleased with the relationships he has built with his colleagues, the focus of identifying improvement opportunities and the early wins that are making a difference to the work experience for his fellow nurses.

Joshua is also part of the first cohort of ARH’s Emerging Leaders Program that launched in November.

“I have had some leadership positions before so it will be a good opportunity to see what ARH is looking for in future leaders and how I will potentially fit into that.”

Home away from Australia

Joshua admits that the urban setting of Toronto was not the right fit for him and he’s more at home in Arnprior where they have extended family including kids the same age as his two- and five-year-old daughters.

“I’m not a city person. I’ve always lived in smaller, rural areas and it is great to be in close distance to an international airport for when we have to get home to Australia.”

Joshua has embraced winter enjoying snowboarding at local hills—and this year, he hopes to try ice fishing.