Philibert Ruberandinda came to Canada from Rwanda in 2000. A newcomer to the country and eager to find meaningful employment, Philibert was encouraged by his brother-in-law (a foreign-trained doctor who had come to Canada just before him ) to consider training as a nurse because of the many job opportunities available in this field.
Philibert chose to train as a caregiver initially, enrolling and quickly completing his training. He was immediately hired into part-time positions at several health care facilities in Winnipeg. It was these experiences – the work and the people – that confirmed that a career in health care was the right choice for him.
“Healthcare is such a rewarding profession, where you’re helping someone. You help your community, the people who speak your language,” Ruberandinda said.
In 2001, just a year after arriving in Canada, Philibert began exploring an accelerated program in nursing, considering options in his French language and in English, which he was learning.
“My language was French and although I was considering studying nursing in the language I spoke, I decided that completing my education in English would broaden my options,” Ruberandinda said. “When I was admitted to the faculty of nursing at the University of Manitoba, it was on the condition that I meet a language requirement.
Philibert took English lessons throughout his studies, while continuing to work as a caregiver. When he obtained his nursing diploma in December 2004, he was immediately hired by one of the establishments where he worked as a nursing assistant. The facility, which supported Manitoba’s Francophone community, allowed her to begin her nursing career by supporting the care of residents whose first – or only – language was French.
“We serve the French-speaking community, so I think having staff who speak French adds a lot to the service we provide and the comfort we can offer residents. As minorities, you always need more voices, so as a Francophone it feels good to stay connected to the community and serve them in their language,” said Ruberandinda who is now Director of Care at Actionmarguerite St. Vital. “I would like to have more people who speak the language, who have ties to the community, a background in health care. We will always have a job – and a place – for them.
A passionate advocate for more French-speaking and bilingual staff working in the health care system, Philibert is quick to mention the welcoming nature of Manitoba’s French-speaking communities and the pride he takes in knowing that his work is making a difference in services. health to which they have access.
“One of the things I love about working here is the organization’s core values. I believe that people should work for the vision of the organization, its values. I love who I work with and know that I am appreciated and seen for the contributions I make and not as a number,” Ruberandinda said. “When you find an organization and a team that shares your values and that you love, then whatever you go through in your job, you go through it with a group you truly value and people you love to serve.”
“If we succeed, we succeed together.”