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

About Us: Meet B.C.'s Nurses

Michelle Sims, MN, NP(F)

Michelle has been a registered NP since 2012. She has worked in the NP role since that time in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside providing outreach and in-clinic primary care. Currently, Michelle works in North Vancouver and Vancouver Health Authority funded primary care clinics providing care to those who face complex medical, mental health and substance use, and/or socioeconomic challenges.

Interview Questions

  1. Why did you decide to enter the nursing profession?
  2. How did you get to where you are today?
  3. What has been the most rewarding thing in your nursing career?
  4. What has been the most challenging?
  5. What advice would you give to new nurses?
  6. Nursing is...

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Why did you decide to enter the nursing profession?

In my early twenties I was working on a Bachelors of Arts degree but I didn’t know what I wanted to be or do, which I think is pretty typical for most young people. I envisioned a career in Women’s health and saw myself engaged in meaningful work - helping people, teaching, learning and somehow, health based. The following year I dropped out of my studies and switched directions for a diploma in Massage Therapy. I was very happy learning about human anatomy, physiology and wellness and loved this work. During my RMT studies I had an instructor who planted the seed of a career in Nursing and suggested I keep an open mind to this as an option. A few years later I ended up with a ruptured appendix and spent 6 days at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary- the exceptional nurses inspired me. My sister convinced me to apply to UBC’s School of Nursing and I was accepted. I wanted to find a career that would fulfill my passion for health, my desire to be caring and helping clients, and the opportunity for professional growth across my career. And I did. Nursing has blown my mind: I’m always learning, my clients teach me everyday AND the opportunities are endless!

How did you get to where you are today?

I started my nursing career right around the time that Nurse Practitioners entered the BC landscape. I recall thinking that the role of NP was exactly how I saw my nursing practice becoming, one day! As an RN, I found my favourite area of practice was in the community and primary care settings, where I worked in interdisciplinary environments with marginalized populations. I had a few NP mentors during that time and was so impressed with their knowledge and professionalism. I was fortunate to have the time and energy to start a Master of Nursing degree and I decided to go for it. The program was very challenging but the course work and NP role were exactly what I’d always envisioned for myself. I absolutely love being a NP and am continually inspired by the nursing profession.

What has been the most rewarding thing in your nursing career?

The most rewarding part of my nursing career has been developing meaningful and honest relationships with my clients. It’s an incredible honour to be involved in someone’s life when they are vulnerable and open. I find that very fulfilling.

What has been the most challenging?

The most challenging part about nursing has been coming to terms with always needing to know more. There’s a saying I love and learned from a retired GP, “the more you know, the more you need to know”. I can truthfully say that every time I’ve felt like an expert in a specific area, I realize there’s more I need to know in another area. This work keeps you humble.

What advice would you give to new nurses?

Pick an area of work where you will be able to explore your interests. Let the work and your professional growth surprise you. Don’t give up when you are challenged. Take into account that each work opportunity is going to feed different aspects of your dynamic work self. Careers are long (it’s a long game!). Don’t neglect yourself and practice self-care when you are healthy. You’ll need this practice when you are challenged and stressed - inevitably it happens!

Nursing is...

Nursing is Transformative. This work inspires change and causes a significant shift in perspective for our clients and the communities we are working for and with. It is transformative for us as individuals because it changes us and helps us to grow as people and practitioners. Nursing is transforming the healthcare landscape as it causes positive and disruptive changes in the system.