"When you have good teamwork, it creates a positive environment," and that environment in turn promotes healthy teamwork, he said. "I think even with the pandemic, we have healthy unit."

Others took notice of Bisessar's team building abilities and by the second wave of COVID, he was offered a new management position in a long-term care unit. "When I got that offer it was really difficult because I wasn't expecting it," he said. Not shy to take on new things — the head nurse was still finishing up an MBA in French (his second language) during the pandemic — he accepted the job. But it wasn't an easy decision. "It was really a difficult time for me because my nursing staff is everything to me," he said.

Things did not go smoothly. As well as overseeing his own unit, Bisessar was managing a group of managers as well. "I had to act in a dual role," he said. "I would find myself working at least twenty hours a day. Some days I was so short staffed because people were off and people were on sick leave, I had to come in to swab the residents because a person became positive."

Bisessar realized he wasn't happy. It wasn't the long hours, or being pulled over by the cops on his way into work after hours during the curfew, or the cyberattack the hospital underwent soon after he started the position — after all, Bisessar was no stranger to challenges. When he really thought about it, he knew it was because he missed his team. "They are caring. They are hard working. It's like we're a small family," he said. "It's the culture of a unit that makes it so you love coming to work."

So, for once, Bisessar put himself first. He returned to the pulmonary rehab unit. "I think sometimes we tend to forget, especially when we're in a management role, about self-care. I chose to go where my heart is," he said. "I chose to go do something I cared about."

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