Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC
NNPBC is a not for profit society registered in the province of British Columbia in September, 2018

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#500 - 3777 Kingsway Burnaby, BC V5H 3Z7
NNPBC Open House

To celebrate National Nursing Week (May 6 - 12, 2019) NNPBC invites BC nurses to an open house on Tuesday, May 7th from 11am - 4pm. Come and join us for snacks, conversation and an afternoon of networking and connecting with colleagues.

Prizes are Available!


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National Nursing Week 2019 - Posters

Click on a poster to print or download the PDF.
National Nursing Week 2019  •  May 6 -12, 2019
Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Health for All

Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Nurse to Know

Nurses work in a variety of areas across all sectors of health care. Read more about some of these fantastic nurses.

Friday, May 10



Previously Featured

Blog Post

Reflections of a Nurse Practitioner, 10 years in - by Tanya ter Keurs, NP

Nursing Week Events

May 7
May 8
May 12
NNPBC Open House
Indigenous Nurses Day
International Nurses Day

Other Resources



How Can I Celebrate?

  • Invite your nursing colleagues to a potluck lunch as a way to celebrate, network, and share.
  • Use the #voicetolead, #IND2019 and #NationalNursingWeek on your social media accounts and consider a posting a story about your nursing career. Or, you may choose to share with us why you became a nurse. Tag @nnp_bc on Twitter and we’ll retweet you!
  • Invite a nursing leader to present at your workplace or in your community.
  • Create a ‘thank you nurses’ board at your work and invite non-nursing staff and patients/clients to say thanks to the hard-working nurses.
  • Managers and leaders, show your thanks to the nurses you work with by writing personal notes of thanks to the nursing team.
  • Show your nursing pride! Wear your NNPBC 'Proud to be' lanyard and show the world you are proud to be a member of the nursing family.
  • Plan a lunch with a nursing colleague of a different designation. Sit down with each other and talk about your work and what you do each day as a chance to bond and to learn from, with and about each other.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Neeta Nagra, RPN

  1. Where do you work?
    I work at PHSA Professional Practice as a Collaborative Practice Leader.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    My first leadership role started off as a Clinical Associate for the School of Nursing UBC in 2013. I additionally worked as a Clinical Instructor for the Psychiatric Nursing Program at Stenberg College. In 2015, I took a supervisor position as the Senior Forensic Community Nurse at the Vancouver Forensic Psychiatric Services Clinic where I worked for two and a half years. In January 2018 I moved into my current position as a Collaborative Practice Leader for PHSA Professional Practice.

    Leadership presents in various forms and begins in your very first nursing position and is as simple as advocating for your patients. The end goal is to be able to provide the best patient care possible while supporting and enabling the nurses and other healthcare members around you to do the same. I have experienced that remaining consistent with my nursing ethics and values, working collaboratively and leading by example when working as floor nurse made a positive impact with my team and the care I/we were able to provide. These factors remain vital to me in any formal leadership position as well.

  3. What is your biggest achievement in nursing?
    Over the years I have learned a lot working with great colleagues, mentors and leaders. There have also been multiple times where I have made a positive impact for patients through the nursing care I provided. Nursing is a career which is rewarding, provides continuous opportunities to grow. Being a nurse remains something I feel happy doing every day.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Michelle Danda, RN

  1. Where do you work?
    I am an RN, and I have been working in mental health throughout my nursing career. I work at Carlile Centre located in Lion's Gate Hospital In North Vancouver, BC. It is an Adolescent Concurrent Disorder inpatient program (services youth between the ages of 13-18 who are living with mental health and substance use issues). I have been working here since the program opened on February 14th, 2017.

  2. What leadership positions have held?
    I have been a leader throughout my nursing career, both in formal and informal leadership roles. From 2013 - 2015 I was an Instructor on an Inpatient Adult Acute Mental Health program at South Health Campus in Calgary, Alberta. I have also been a Clinical Instructor for the UBC School of Nursing off and on since 2016 and I am currently an Instructor for the Stenberg College RPN program.

  3. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    I would tell my younger nursing self that leadership happens in all sorts of roles, not just the formal ones but throughout the health care landscape in opportunities for mentoring younger nurses and other health care professionals. I would also tell my younger self that being a leader means being brave and also being kind to yourself.

  4. What is your biggest achievement in nursing?
    My biggest achievement in nursing is having started my PhD in nursing at the University of Alberta in the fall of 2018.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Maja Kolar, RPN, MSN

  1. Where do you work?
    I work at Heatley Intensive Case Management Team as a Mental Health and Substance Use Outreach Nurse.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    One thing I wish I could share with my younger self earlier on in my career would be knowing how to preserve myself and care for myself in face of witnessing individual and systemic healthcare inequities on a daily basis. Another piece of advice I would share with my younger self would be the importance of investing deeply in relationships and community both in the healthcare system and outside of it. Social connection is central to successful individual and systemic change.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    My biggest wish for Nursing in B.C. would be for nurses from all designations to work together in advocating for health equity, which includes such things as poverty elimination and legalization of drugs. We are stronger together and by being the largest group of health professionals we are capable of changes beyond our individual imagination.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Jennifer Beaveridge, MScN, DNP(c), NP-F

  1. Where do you work?
    I wear many hats and I love every one of them! I am practicing NP in primary care with a practice caring for vulnerable complex patients across the lifespan. I am the director of NPs and the Regional NP Department Head for VCH and I also am the clinical lead faculty at UNBC, teaching and leading the clinical courses in the NP program. I also have been active with the BCCNP for many years as the Deputy Chief Examiner for the NP OSCE exams and NP Quality Assurance Reviews. I have just completed my DNP (awaiting the Dean's final signature!) so soon will hold a new title and be on a new journey as a DNP NP.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    This is a good question!

    The first thing I would say is always hold your head high and be proud of being a nurse. I think this is the key to leadership- being proud of the profession you are leading. Nurses are natural leaders at the frontline so from day one be proud.

    The second thing would be pay attention to the larger system, at a local, provincial and global level. I did not realize the importance of a systems lens and now I can see that it is one of the most important skills a leader can have. Healthcare systems are complicated and have many layers. Leaders need to be able to see and understand all the aspects as each part is moving and has impact.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    I would like nurses across the profession to be fully optimized. I think when we work at the top of our scope we all truly shine! I am so proud to be an NP and I have never looked back since starting my nursing journey. We need to embrace challenges and always be open to change. My final wish is for us to never lose our core lens of ‘caring' and to not forget our nursing roots. It wasn't until I went back to do my DNP that I dove back into reading about Watson, and have gained a new appreciation for her and our other nursing theorists (I cannot believe I just said that….but I did).

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Bryan Say, NP

  1. Where do you work?
    I work as a Nurse Practitioner at two Long Term Care facilities in Nanaimo. At Dufferin Place, I work within a collaborative approach model with medical staff. The second facility is Wexford Creek, where I work as a primary provider.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    I'd say that leadership is a shared responsibility between you and the team you work with and that no matter what your role, age or experience are, you are a leader in some way. Anyone can be a leader in any situation. Speak up!

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    My biggest wish is that we maximize the scope of practice for all nurses in B.C. There is no "your" work and "my" work, it is our work. We all need to work together to care for folks, their families and advance nursing.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Karen Chandra, NP

  1. Where do you work?
    I have the honour of working at the Musqueam Primary Care Clinic as a family primary care nurse practitioner.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    You will work in a large variety of settings and teams, from the wards, the OR, ICU, the Downtown Eastside, in people's home providing palliative care and in clinics providing primary care. Your leadership skills will be formed and shaped by the knowledge and experience gained from each setting, the collaboration with numerous other health care professionals and agencies, the times when teams run smoothly, the times when there is conflict or hardship, and the lessons learned through the years. Strong nursing leadership is essential for best practice, for the best patient care, for innovation, for advocacy and for health and well being.

    You will hold a human being during their first breath in life and you will hold a human being during their last breath in life. You will care for some of the most vulnerable people in society and some of the most powerful people in society. You will have the privilege of hearing countless stories of people's life journeys including their fears, their struggles, their joy, their successes, what they need to be healthy and well, what needs to change in their health care, their community, their environment, their supports and their government. People will trust you with this and as a nurse, it is your role to advocate, to provide support and mentorship and to influence and guide how health care can meet those needs.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    I feel that nursing in B.C. is changing quickly. I want nursing in B.C. to continue to be at the forefront of shaping health care and for nurses to continue to show strong leadership in taking our ideas of how to improve the health and wellbeing of British Columbians and putting those ideas into action. I also hope that the passion that draws people into nursing is supported, respected, and nurtured so that people stay in nursing. We need more nurses!

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Katie Cox, NP(F)


Katie and her dog Ruby at Pkols (also known by it's colonial name as Mount Doug)
  1. Where do you work?
    I work as a nurse practitioner in the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nation communities through the Aboriginal Health department in Island Health; specifically, Tsartlip and Pauquachin First Nations communities.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    One of the most important things I have learned about being a leader in nursing is the importance of understanding our positions of power. At times in my career I have felt frustrated and even powerless as a result of decisions and actions that were made without seemingly to regard the effects to patient care and front-line workers. However, through my experiences working with vulnerable populations I have seen how nurses are not only individuals in positions of power, but together we are fierce. Lately, my thoughts have focused on recognizing my position of power as second generation Chinese/English Settler living and working in the traditional territory of the W̱SÁNEĆ people. Colonization had and continues to have a vast effect on Indigenous communities and culture. Being part of the white settler population inherently puts me in a position of privilege and power. As nurses we are highly educated and are in perfect positions to advocate for improved health care, access and better social determinants of health in order to improve population health. To my younger self, I would stress the vast differences that I can make on patients' health, experience, understanding and life.

    The second thing I would tell my younger self would be to approach challenges as opportunities for learning and change. I am very hard on myself and have high expectations therefore I can easily become frustrated. However, I am slowly learning to seize these situations as opportunities to explore all the actions I can take. Unfortunately, there will always be times when hurdles seem too daunting but there is always something to be done. There is always a seed to be planted, an opportunity to spread warmth and room for change.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    I can't just narrow it down to one! First and foremost, I wish all nurses in B.C. to become educated with local cultural safety programs and initiatives. I think this should be a mandatory requirement prior to practicing as a nurse in B.C.

    Secondly, I hope the government creates more positions in community for NP's and nurses to help improve health access and begins to address many opportunities for health promotion and disease prevention. This requires some buy in from our interdisciplinary team members and government. Therefore, I wish for a greater understanding and acknowledgement of the nursing profession and the breadth of knowledge and experience that we can share.

    Last, but not least, for my nursing colleagues working in facilities and acute care, I wish for safe staffing levels and appropriate nurse-patient ratios.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Lisa Bourque Bearskin, RN


Lisa is shown in the centre of the photo
In nursing - as in life - my wish is that hope, inspiration, innovation, and Indigenous Nursing leadership remain the sinew that binds us together supporting the betterment of humanity by uplifting and honouring Indigenous viewpoints in nursing practice.
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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Leona Clark, LPN

I work in home care and I really value the working relationships I've built with my colleagues, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. My biggest wish for our profession is for the funding and resources for nursing to care for clients safely, in the community and with access to hands-on nurse managers.
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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Jessica Key, RN

My name is Jessica Key and I'm a member of the Musgamaugw Dzawada'eneuxw of Kingcome Inlet. When I think of myself as a young nurse I would tell myself that while it will be scary how much responsibility you will take on and how quickly people will turn to you and rely on your input and perspective, that you have to trust your experience and knowledge. As an indigenous woman I know you have been socialized to believe that you do not have much of a voice, but you have to trust your experience, knowledge, values and the guidance of those who have come before you to grow your nursing voice and bring everything you have to offer to the people you work with. You will love it!
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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Ivy McRae, LPN

  1. Where do you work?
    I am first Nations from the Bonaparte Indian reserve. My husband and I currently live and raise our children in the Nicola Valley (Merritt, BC) . I have worked in many areas of nursing and this has brought me to an education role with the Nicola Valley Institute of technology as the Health Care Aide Program Coordinator.

  2. What would you tell your younger nursing self about nursing?
    If I had the chance to tell my younger nursing self something, it would be to remember why you are here, don't lose that focus. Your people need you to be their voice.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    My biggest wish for nursing in B.C. is that we begin to implement a cultural aspect to nursing. I'd like us to get to a place where nurses are educated in the cultural practices and have an understanding that patients' reactions to situations could be affected by the intergenerational traumas in their lifetime. Nursing with respect to cultural sensitivity is a way of "being" respectful and empathetic to a situation. This is a piece of the cultural sensitivity training that cannot be learned through a book. It's learned through feeling and empathy. One thing I always tell my students is don't be afraid to learn a person's story. It is truly amazing how your perspective changes once you understand where they have been and what has brought them to this point in their lives. I dream of a health care setting that is open to our practices and allows us to truly have a holistic approach. I am now an educator with hopes to change the perspectives of our health care workers and instill the cultural practices into our new heath care workers one person at a time.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Monique Pat, RPN

My want for B.C. nurses is to engage in cultural safety, learn the 94 calls to action created by Truth & Reconciliation Commission and to remember we, as a society, are only in the truth telling phase.

I would be happy to see all nurses wearing orange shirts to honor Indian Residential School Survivors and their families. Healing and wellness starts with learning and sharing instead of fixing. As I reflect on my work, and the lessons learned to my younger self I would say you are enough, and you matter.
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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Sherry Ridsdale, RN

My hope for B.C. nurses is that we can be a more cohesive group that cares about our peers. We need to start caring and embracing each other for our differences, as well as our similarities. I want us to look around and embrace those around us who are suffering and to start focusing more on equity and less on equality. My wish is that we see the person, not the story or gossip. I would love to have us embrace all people regardless of their circumstances and see the beauty in each and every person we meet, work with or interact with in our day, our lives and our communities. I would love to have us put more value on people and less on materialistic things.

I would tell my younger self that you are worthy of everything you dreamed of and hoped for as a child. I matter and I am important and the colour of my skin does not define me or my abilities. I am smart, kind and empathetic. These traits do not make me weak but instead very strong. I would tell my younger self it's ok to be honest, even if others don't appreciate your honesty and that it is ok to be different and see the world you want as one that revolves around equity and caring. I would also tell myself that is fine to fail, get up and try again. Failure doesn't define your abilities or your wisdom. I would also tell her to go out, give it all you have to give even if no one believes in your vision. Finally, I would wish her enough each day.

Hiy Hiy
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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Erin Wiltse, RN

  1. Where do you work?
    I work for the First Nations Health Authority as the Professional Practice Lead. In this role, I lead a team of practice consultants who support nursing practice and education in rural and remote First Nations communities across BC.

  2. Where have you been a leader in your career?
    I integrate nursing leadership in all aspects of my work whether I am at the point of care, supporting nurses in their practice, modeling professionalism or aligning program and curriculum development with Indigenous ways of knowing and being. I feel privileged to partner with BC First Nations and truly be a leader in health care systems transformation to improve the wellness of Indigenous people across BC. I am mindful to incorporate the values and beliefs that help direct our work in community bridging Western medicine with traditional Indigenous healing, a Two Eyed Seeing approach to healthcare delivery.

  3. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    I would encourage novice nurses to be open and curious to all learning experiences and opportunities. To understand the context of people's lives and to meet them where they are at with a lens of cultural safety, humility, and embody a trauma informed approach. I would also message that leading is not power over, it is walking with to support people to be the best they can be in all aspects. Any nurse, at any point in their career, with no position or title can have influence and lead. Just be brave, realize that the hardest questions are the ones you'll ask yourself, and accept that failure will happen, it is how we grow and learn.

  4. What is your biggest achievement in nursing?
    In 2017, I was honored with a silver medal of bravery for my life saving actions during a serious float plane accident off the northern coast of BC. I was traveling into a remote nursing station to orientate and train two new nurses when our float plane crashed, flipped upside down, and rapidly began to sink in the open ocean upon landing. Once I safely egressed from the plane, I realized my new nurses had not made escaped from the sinking plane, so I acted on instinct and returned into the plane to successfully pull them and one other passenger to the safety of nearby rescue boats. All seven passengers that day survived what should have been a tragedy and I have yet to beat that sense of achievement to this day.

    I am also proud to have been accepted into the International Masters for Healthcare Leadership through McGill University starting this fall. I look forward to taking my leadership journey to the next level and representing BC and Canadian Indigenous Nursing on an international platform.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Joleen Warmerdam, LPN

  1. Where do you work?
    I work at the College of New Caledonia as a Health Care Assistant Instructor and with Northern Health Authority as an LPN Team Leader.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    Some of your toughest days as a leader will turn out to be the ones you learn from the most because they will teach you perseverance, humility, empathy, confidence, and respect for situations out of your control. They will also teach you the importance of reliance on the team that surrounds you.

    I'd also say listen to those around you and take in their advice and perspective. Trust your experience and instinct in the moment and lead with confidence and compassion always recognizing you cannot lead without team support.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    My biggest wish for nursing in B.C. is to continue to attract compassionate and caring individuals into this demanding but rewarding career so that we can work without staffing struggles in order to support and advocate for our clients, patients and residents to the best of our ability.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Jennifer Yensen, LPN

  1. Where do you work?
    I work at Simon Fraser Lodge, Gateway and Parkside.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    Two things i would tell younger nurses are to remember to take care of yourself, you're very important and if you're not well, you can't care for others and to try not to take the job home with you. Vent for 5-10 minutes if you need to, but then let it go!

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    My biggest wish for nursing in BC is to see an increase in staffing, especially in the private homes. The current patient to staff ratio is unsafe for both staff and their clients.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Katrina Noda, LPN

  1. Where do you work?
    I started my career in the medical field as a Medical Office Assistant and moved into the nursing field as a Licensed Practical Nurse five years ago. I'm excited to be starting work this spring at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops BC on a medical/telemetry floor after completing my BScN degree at Thompson Rivers University.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    If I could tell my younger nursing self anything about being a leader it would be that leadership takes many different forms. Sometimes being a leader means being a quiet cheerleader and helping lift up your fellow nurses to succeed.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    My biggest wish for nursing in B.C. is for nurses to continue to discover their growing potential for innovation and leadership in a variety of sectors. I believe that nurses come from diverse backgrounds and can bring a unique skill set, perspective, and expertise to many industries outside of healthcare. .

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Kara Hlina, LPN

  1. Where do you work?
    I work at Eagle Park Health Care Facility in Qualicum Beach.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    A good leader in sets people up for success and builds their team up being staying positive and recognizing that we are all still learning. Strive to be that person that can effect positive change. I'd also say that it's important to come to the table with suggestions and solutions.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    I'd love to see more supports in place to help front line workers manage workloads and the increased complexity of patients across all areas of nursing.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Tish Trevelyan, LPN

Tish Trevelyan, LPN, is an opioid agonist therapy nurse at the Prince George Regional Correctional Centre. She has worked in corrections for more than eight years, and it has become her unexpected dream job. She loves the opportunity to be part of lasting change with her patients. "It's not like in a hospital where you see them for a day and then move on," she says. Tish is part of a team that supports clients who are on opioid agonist therapy, which uses medication-assisted treatments such as Suboxone and methadone to treat substance-use disorders. It can stabilize people who live with opioid addiction, reduce their reliance on opioids, and help them sustain their recovery.

To date, Tish has given out about 400 Take Home Naloxone kits, and she has heard many stories about them saving lives. "It's a good feeling," she says.

Tish demonstrates the theme for nursing week - Nurses: A Voice to Lead - Health for All.

Her role and others like it are exactly what makes a difference in the health of British Columbians. Thank you Tish for your leadership and all that you do for the clients in your community.
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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Elizabeth Rochon, LPN

  1. Where do you work?
    I work in Home and Community Care, Rapid Mobilization as an LPN.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger nursing self?
    I would tell my younger nursing self to always trust my gut instincts, and there is such thing as nurses intuition! I would also remind myself to stay positive under the stressors of this career and remember why you became a nurse, never forget that helping others is a true calling.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    My biggest wish for nursing in B.C. is to increase full and part time positions and have our nurses working in safe nurse to patient ratios.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Marilou Gagnon, RN, PhD

  1. Where do you work?
    I currently work as an Associate Professor in Nursing at the University of Victoria. In addition to this, I wear multiple hats: Collaborating Scientist at the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, Co-President of the Nursing Observatory, which I founded with my colleague Dr. Amélie Perron (University of Ottawa), Clinical Nurse Specialist in Urban Health and HIV at St Paul’s Hospital, and President of the Harm Reduction Nurses Association.

  2. Where have you been a leader in your career?
    I became the leader that I am today because I surrounded myself with supportive colleagues who instilled courage not fear. I worked in spaces where critical thinking and truth telling was encouraged, and most importantly, I came across great teachers including radical nurses, activists, peers, human rights defenders, harm reduction pioneers, and grassroots organizers. Over the years, I played various leadership roles in education, research, advocacy, and policy. I am most proud of my contribution to the collective project of building and advancing the fields HIV and harm reduction nursing from the ground up.

  3. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    I would say to my younger nursing self, "You know exactly what to do: Trust your gut, be daring, and take risks". As a novice nurse, I did not need advice on leadership. I needed to see true nursing leadership in action. I was fortunate enough to see it in my workplace and in my nursing community. This is often not the case for novice nurses. So, I would say this to novice nurses: Trust yourself and take risks. Align yourself with like-minded people who inspire and support you. Know who you are as a nurse and what your role is. Find mentors and role models inside and outside of nursing. Learn about power. Think and act collectively - and politically.

  4. What is your biggest achievement in nursing?
    In August 2017, I joined Overdose Prevention Ottawa, a group of community members, grassroots organizers, and frontline workers who came together to respond to the overdose crisis in Ottawa. We held a press conference on August 24, 2018 and opened an unsanctioned overdose prevention site in Raphael-Brunet Park on August 25, 2018. It became the first safer consumption space in the city. The site remained opened for 80 days, during which we recorded a total of 3676 encounters. In recognition of my contribution to Overdose Prevention Ottawa, I received the 2018 Hero Nurse Award from Hospital News. Overdose Prevention Ottawa (the collective) was also awarded the 2018 Transformative Change Award from the Association of Ontario Health Centres and the 2018 Rafi Balian Award from the Somerset West Community Health Centre. You can read about my experience here.

Follow her on Twitter: mlgagnon_XVII

Follow her on Instagram: ml_gagnon
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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Marie Hawkins, RN

  1. Where do you work?
    My current position is with PHSA/BC Cancer.

  2. Where have you been a leader in your career?
    My first leadership position was as a charge nurse at the Royal Alexandra Hospital ICU/CCU in 1988. I was terrified! However, working on that unit and with those colleagues, I learned the power of team work! We were so cohesive.

    Since 1996 I have held progressively complex leadership positions.

    In Edmonton at the Royal Alexandra Hospital (Cardiac Program Coordinator) Calgary: University of Calgary (Provincial Manager Cardiac Clinical Registry - APPROACH). In British Columbia I have worked in three Health Authorities. Interior Health (Regional Network Director Cardiac Services), Fraser Health (Program Director, Cardiac Services; Executive Director Primary Care and Stroke & Cancer Strategies) and most recently with Provincial Health Services/BC Cancer (Provincial Director, Malignant Hematology Program).

    I am actively involved in the Canadian College of Healthcare Leaders (CCHL) BC Lower Mainland Chapter Executive Committee.

  3. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    You don’t have to know all the answers and you need to know what questions to ask! Build teams of diverse people, people smarter than you and respect the diversity of opinions and perspective. Remember to listen, you will learn more.

    I'd also say that it's not going to be easy so never lose sight of why we are here. It is for patients and families.

  4. What is your biggest achievement in nursing?
    I'd say my biggest achievement has been in building collaborative working relationship across multiple disciplines and sectors, Tertiary, Acute, Community and Primary Care, Academia, Regional, National and International committees/agencies and Government (Ministry of Health), to collectively advance the quality of care.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Nicole Speirs, RN

  1. Where do you work?
    I am a Primary Care RN working (mostly) with Indigenous people at Central Interior Native Health Society in Prince George, British Columbia. Our health clinic serves people struggling with homelessness, addiction and HIV/Hep C. I participate in different areas of care from triage RN to opioid agonist therapy (OAT), prenatal, paediatric, and infectious disease clinics. Our patients have access to RNs, NPs, Physicians, outreach workers, physiotherapist, wellness counsellors, social workers, and most importantly, an Elder.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    Way to go for following your dream to be an RN! It's a serious commitment to get through the BScN, but when you get through it, it's ALL worth it. Remember to remain humble but strong in your core values. Always take what you can learn from anyone willing to teach you. Sometimes under stress your teacher may not be as pleasant in how they teach but don't take offence at the straight forwardness. That said, don't let people disrespect you. It's a fine line but be sure you find it.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    My wish for nursing in B.C. is much more money allocated to mental health supports. Mental health directly effects physical health. Everyone needs mental health support. Everyone.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Elisabet Spry, RN

  1. Where do you work?
    I work with First Nations as a Community Health Nurse for Cowichan Tribes on Vancouver Island.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    I would tell myself to be curious about learning, new ways of being, exploring new opportunities and developing your style nursing of practice. I would also tell myself to slow down and enjoy the process of coming to know your own practice and be gentle with yourself. Nursing skill, knowledge, and experience takes time.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    My biggest wish is for nurses from all professions and designations to come together and support each other through knowledge, compassion, and leadership as we navigate through changes in healthcare.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Courtney Symes, RN

  1. Where do you work?
    I work as a nurse educator in Providence Health Care where I support fantastic teams of nurses in providing care to seniors in the inpatient setting, and in our care homes. I firmly believe that leadership does not come from a position or title and that each nurse can be a leader in patient or resident care. I have seen fantastic quality projects and culture change initiatives stem from nurses delivering direct care.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    If I could tell my younger nursing self two things about being a leader they would be listen more than you talk, everyone has something to teach you. I’d also say change and possibilities for improvement are constant and it is very important to look for successes and things done right! People looking after people is complex, not every moment will go right and yet each day extraordinary things happen. Celebrate the moments of innovation, success, and joy with your team.

  3. What is your biggest achievement in nursing?
    I think the biggest achievements in nursing I have had have been seeing others succeed. I always enjoy orienting new nurses to the hospital and then seeing them get involved in the organization, engaged in learning and improvement which ultimately improves the experience of patients and residents!

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Catherine Tanski, RN

  1. Where do you work?
    I currently work in the northwestern city of Terrace, BC as a Primary Care Nurse at the Public Health Unit.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    After 22 years of nursing I still consider myself a student. There's learning in everything, and your patients will be your greatest teachers. Also, make sure you invest in a good pair of compression stockings!

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    My biggest wish for nursing in B.C. is to offer translation services for the 811 Health Line in Sm'álgyax, a dialect of the Tsimshian language richly spoken in my region.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Brandi Trudell-Davis, RN, BScN


  1. Where do you work?
    I work at the Nisga'a Valley Health authority.

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    I would say to continue with education, focusing on the business aspect the profession which is changing so quickly as nurses are becoming more and more business savvy. I’d also say that you must trust your intuition. Life is never what is shown in a textbook.

  3. What is your biggest wish for nursing in B.C.?
    I hope for better opportunities, resources and supports for education for nurses who want to be creative in thier profession.

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National Nursing Week 2019 - Nurse to Know

Angela Wignall, RN

  1. Where do you work?
    I became an RN in 2016 after making a mid-life career change into nursing. Since that time, I’ve worked across the health care sector as a public health and perinatal nurse, nurse educator, and nurse leader.

    Most recently, my leadership work has focused on advancing nursing voice in governance and policy as well as creating space for nurses in innovation. I have developed and piloted a new role for nurses at Island Health in Quality, Safety, and Improvement and am a founding member of Island Health’s Innovation Lab. I now work alongside our Chief Nursing Officer in the creation of a Nursing and Allied Health Advisory Council that will work to inform leadership and decision making across our health authority. I’m passionate about advancing the nursing profession and advocating for the inclusion of our knowledge and expertise at the policy table

  2. What are two things you would tell your younger self about being a leader in nursing?
    If I could tell my younger nursing self two things about being a leader, I would tell her:
    • Most leaders don’t have “leader” in their title. Leadership isn’t necessarily a title that someone else awards you. It is a practice and a way of being. When we practice excellent communication, celebrate those around us, act with humility, and mentor integrity, we are practicing leadership. So don’t wait for someone else to name you “leader”. Enact your leadership as a practice every day, right where you are.
    • Know where you’re going and hold on to that vision. As early as nursing school, I was told by instructors that my version of nursing and my vision for myself as a nurse was unattainable or not what nursing is about. Once I got into practice, I was told to be quieter, think smaller, and put in my twenty years on med/surg before dreaming bigger. However, nursing is changing rapidly and our profession needs people who are ready to be brave with what nursing can be. I would tell my younger nursing self that there is space in nursing for any dream you can dream. There are opportunities out there that you can’t yet imagine.