My name is Soly Diaz, and my new title is IPAC (Infection Prevention and Control) Manager at Shepherd Lodge. Two months ago, I applied for the posting and was thrilled to get the position. As an IPAC Manager, I’m responsible for monitoring and auditing new infection symptoms and trends in the Village, collaborating with Public Health and the rest of the nursing team to manage outbreaks. I also oversee the screening of the residents, vaccine supplies, and vaccinations.
My life all began in the Philippines, a beautiful tropical country. I moved to Canada with my parents at age 14. My parents had the opportunity to move through an international work application with my two sisters and me. My family had the privilege of starting a new life here. I also have two sisters who remained in the Philippines with their families. Thankfully, we can stay in contact and visit each other whenever possible.
It was a difficult adjustment to move to Canada after the hardships of living in the Philippines. Financially, our situation was not easy. I remember childhood memories of dividing one egg between us five. For this reason, whenever I speak with my children, I stress how fortunate we are to be living in Canada. I share stories about my past to remind them to take advantage of the opportunities that may come their way.
I attended RH King Academy high school, formerly known as the Scarborough Collegiate Institute. The adjustment to a new country, language and system was an immense challenge; therefore, getting my education was not always easy. I took it all in stride and did my best to be successful.
My first few jobs were to obtain my “real world” experience that brought me to my role today. I began at a Mcdonald’s, then as a receptionist at a hotel, which later progressed into becoming the front desk manager. Then, later on, I had the privilege of working for a hotel software management company. These experiences were not always easy or exciting, but as a young single mother, I knew I had to make the necessary sacrifices to provide for my children and be the best role model possible. I applied myself and took the initiative with any opportunity I was given.
After some time, I applied and got accepted to a government program called Second Career. It is a cost-sharing grant provided to individuals looking to train for a change of career. The Second Career grant is provided based on need and may cover tuition, transportation, books, childcare, etc. Since I was a single mother, the government provided me with the support and the education I needed to enter a second career.
My decisions for this phase of my journey were challenging and during this, I relied heavily on my Christian faith to help guide me and provide the answers I needed. Nursing has been something I’ve always seen myself involved in; after considering my options and listening to the word of God, it dawned on me… Caring for people is in my blood and I was determined to make a dream my reality. I began my two-year education towards completing nursing school.
I came to Shepherd Village as a student nurse to complete my clinical and worked on the 7th floor of the Lodge for a year. I finished the student-to-new grad year and was given a part-time position as a nurse in charge of the floor.
During travels to my home country for a visit, I met an individual through a friend of mine who was also travelling and, as odd as it was, turned out to live in Canada as well. Fast forward some time, we had reconnected in Canada, and he had the lovely opportunity of seeing me in my scrubs! Things slowly progressed, and ten years down the road, we decided to take our relationship to the next step. Like a fairy-tale, my love and I got married in the place we met.
My life has had some struggles with many ups and downs, but good things come eventually with prayer, hard work, and perseverance. I have had so many changes and it has been challenging, but I like challenges. I look forward to my future and my new role, always learning and striving to be better each day.