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The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that 2020 is the Year of the Nurse & Midwife. Countries all over the world will celebrate the contributions to health and wellness by both nurses and midwives. 2020 also serves to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth.
The International Council of Nurses (ICN), through which NNPBC members are connected via our Canadian Nurses Association jurisdictional membership, is ramping up the Nursing Now Campaign which represents the largest international campaign to advance nursing practice globally in the history of our profession.
With solid support from the WHO the tremendous value nurses represent to health care systems across all nations internationally, nurses are in an ideal position to make important advances in the scope of our practice, the integration of nurses into practice areas in which such integration has been notoriously difficult (such as primary care), and to advance a nursing perspective on health care delivery for the betterment of our systems and societies.
We will update this page frequently with nurse/midwife profiles and additional information in order to celebrate the immense contributions of nursing and midwifery!
Resources and Links
- WHO Nursing Now Campaign Press Release
- CNA Nursing Now Canada - English | French
- APPG Triple Impact Report
- ICN Nursing Now
- Nursing Now Website
- State of the World's Nursing - 2020
Aggie Black, RN MPH Director, Health Services & Clinical Research and Knowledge Translation, Professional Practice Office, Providence Health Care
- Adjunct Professor, School of Nursing, UBC
- Research Associate, CHEOS
- RN Councillor, NNPBC RN Council
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?It means that these professions are gaining recognition for the amazing contributions they make worldwide. Nurses and midwives are critical to the smooth running of the health care system: from rural and remote communities to acute care hospitals they influence the health of individuals and the health of populations, and they lead from the hospital boardroom and the research centre to the ministry of health.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I was inspired by nurses I met while working in Nicaragua. I loved their commitment to social justice, their practical health care skills, and their abilities to influence health at the individual and the population level. I felt that entering the nursing profession would allow me to gain a strong skill set, yet continue to grow as I took on different nursing roles.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?Leading programs that encourage novice researchers - including many nurses - to tackle a research project, and seeing them grow in their confidence over the course of the program, while impacting clinical practice through their project findings.
What has been the most challenging?Feeling powerless to help patients who were struggling because of the social determinants of health: poverty, homelessness, lack of education and job skills. You can patch a patient up like an expert, but if we’re sending them back out to unstable and unsafe environments, it can be discouraging.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Learn all you can from your schooling, from your peers, from your patients. Never stop asking questions and learning, never stop advocating for a strong health care system that meets the needs of all patients.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?You will go places you never imagined, and eventually influence others in the profession. Your patients will be some of your best teachers. Stay open to opportunities.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Compassionate.
Alixandra Bacon, RM, President, Midwives Association of BC
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?Now, during the pandemic, it is more important than ever to recognize the critical contribution midwives and nurses make to health in BC, Canada and Globally! This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the special relationship and the history fruitful collaboration between nurses and midwives. It is also important to acknowledge that nurses and midwives often work in challenging circumstances: undervalued, under-resourced, and overworked. Together, midwives and nurses can partner with those we care for and unite towards shared goals.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I was inspired by my Nana's home births and a nurse midwife I worked with at Options for Sexual Health. They normalized birth for me as a healthy life event and suggested that midwifery was an opportunity to work with birthers in partnership while practicing intersectional feminism.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?It's hard to pick one moment: meeting with Young Midwifery Leaders from around the world in Copenhagen '16, the Midwives March in Toronto '17, or the merging of my professional knowledge and relationships with my personal care during the incredibly collaborative midwifery, nursing and obstetrical care I received during the vaginal breech birth of my son in '18.
What has been the most challenging?Balancing clinical practice with leadership work and family. Staying positive in the face an unequal system.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?I tell my students that whenever they are at the hospital it's essential that they budget an extra 30 minutes to sit at the desk and spend some social time with their nursing colleagues. Get to know their interests, the names of their children, share birth stories, ask clinical questions. Care provision works best when the team is tight knit and invested in one another's well-being, as well as the work.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?When you feel lost, tired or overwhelmed, go back to the beginning. Look to the birthers for inspiration. Like them, take the contractions one at a time and remember the purpose behind the work, the strength inherent in all birthers, and the great joy and triumph of birth.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Care.
Angela Wignall, RN, NNPBC RN Councillor
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?We know that when nurses lead, systems and populations improve. The Year of the Nurse & Midwife is a recognition of the vital role nurses play in health care globally and regionally. It is an opportunity for us to not only celebrate the enormous contributions nursing has made to human health on a planetary level, but to raise the visibility of our profession and our disciplinary knowledge.
Nursing builds on centuries of women’s caring work and, at its core, is a practice that enables healing through relationship. We have grown into the world’s most trusted profession and have cultivated a disciplinary knowledge base that encompasses the entirety of the embodied human experience. We are the largest group of care providers on the planet, the heart of health care, and a force for good in the world. However, nurses remain undervalued, relegated to physician helpers, and cut when finances are tight. The Year of the Nurse & Midwife is a chance for us to shine, to share our work, and to step into the power of our practice and our knowledge.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?My first career was in theatre and the arts, working primarily in arts and cultural policy. After the birth of my first child, I became a doula and attended women in birth and the postpartum period. My love for working with childbearing women grew and I decided I wanted to transition out of arts and culture and into health care. The journey started with a Masters degree in Policy and Practice, researching perinatal mental health policy frameworks and ended with graduating with my BSN and my MA on the same day. Nursing quickly became the career I had always dreamed of, a place where I could integrate my love for policy and governance with the compassion of caring for humans. Becoming a nurse is the best gift I have ever given myself.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?Oh! It is hard to pick one! Receiving the NNPBC Rising Star Award last year was certainly a surreal moment. Standing with nurses I had looked up to for years and community partners on the front lines on the Downtown East Side was a profound honour. I am also really proud to serve on the NNPBC RN Council, representing nurses from the Island region of BC.
And perhaps a moment of deep joy for me as a nurse was enabling cultural safety and humility learning events with Senator Murray Sinclair. Bringing Senator Sinclair together with politicians, executives, care providers, community members, and indigenous leaders for conversations on how to truly move truth and reconciliation forward in our health care system is an experience I will never forget and a learning gift that changed my life.
These moments were very big. There are also highlights in my career that happened less publicly. Deep joy finds me when I carry a new baby to their new mama. Sitting in the dark of the night with a new family as they learn to be together, latching a baby that isn’t feeding well, walking alongside a family experiencing loss; these experiences are career highlights I got to experience as a perinatal nurse. Now as a policy nurse, I get to see my ideas and arguments show up at decision-making tables and shape the future of nursing and health care. It is truly a career where every day has a highlight, some splashy and some beautifully quiet.
What has been the most challenging?The most challenging thing I face as a nurse is the undervaluing of nurses in our system and the invisibility of nursing knowledge. This comes from outside our profession and from within.
I am often the only nurse in the room and a huge part of my work is simply making nursing visible within the problems or challenges being discussed. Though often topics at the policy table are, at their heart, nursing issues, the practice or nursing component is rarely surfaced. Approaches to problem solving or visioning for change in these rooms do not arise from nursing and are hardly if ever informed by nursing. It takes enormous effort to pivot the conversation so that nursing is visible not only as part of the issue at hand but also as the most relevant potential resource for moving forward. It is a continuous effort that is enormously disheartening and deeply necessary.
From the inside out, we also face unnecessary siloes within our practices and a hierarchy of practice that drags us backward. Arguments over who is a “real nurse” and what “real nursing” is continues to plague us as profession, creating divisions where we need unity. Until nurses liberate ourselves from the hierarchies of practice and knowledge imposed on us by a paramilitary and religious order history, we will struggle to communicate to the outside world our true value.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Be fearless. Nurses belong everywhere, in every conversation, and at every level. Don’t be afraid to stand strong in your nursing knowledge, to value yourself as a nurse, and to hold a vision for nursing that is different from what has come before. And find your people. They are out there. You are not alone. Nursing needs you and humanity needs nurses.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?This is a career that will take you to places you cannot even imagine, faster than you ever anticipated. You are going to be bullied and mocked and told to sit down and be quiet. Don’t sit down. Don’t be quiet. Even when you are crying in the med room or your voice is shaking in front of executives, remember that every tiny step forward makes a difference. You may not see the change in your lifetime but working for something seven generations from now is the way women have made change since the beginning of time. You are part of a long legacy of brave women, smart women, women who shook the world. Make them proud.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Transformative.
Alayna Payne, RN
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?To me, celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife means that nurses and midwives are being recognized, on a global scale, for their capacity to contribute to global health equity. This campaign provides a spotlight to highlight the work of nurses and midwives across all healthcare sectors and levels of care, whether it be promotion, prevention, treatment or palliation. In doing this, I believe nurses and midwives will be better positioned to enact change within healthcare that is consistent with the changing needs of society globally.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?When I was about 12 years old, my grandfather told me the story about an RN named Mrs. Bell. It was this story that inspired me to become a nurse.
In 1960, my grandpa was in a brutal car accident. He was one month into his employment with the Canadian armed forces when the car spun out of control and rolled into a ditch, killing two of his friends and leaving him in a hospital bed just millimeters away from being paralyzed. Days after the accident, he was informed that his family was being deported back to England. Once his injuries were stabilized, he was able to be discharged from the hospital to say goodbye to his mom, dad, and four brothers prior to their deportation. It was during this goodbye that he slipped and hurt himself again, launching his already broken body into a downward spiral. He found himself back at the hospital later that day in a full body cast. At this time, he was informed that his future in the forces was in jeopardy as his medical problems were now compounded.
He was in the hospital for over nine months, without family support and with a very uncertain future ahead. During these nine months, he endured gruelling physical therapy and was faced with the task of learning how to walk again. My grandpa had all but lost hope, until RN Mrs. Bell walked into his room. Mrs. Bell stayed with my grandpa every day throughout those nine months. She brought him small indulgences, supported him, and encouraged him. In fact, even though she was the nurse, she was also my grandpa's only visitor and supporter.
In summer of 1961, my grandpa was discharged. He was able to keep his career and went on to meet my grandma to whom he is still married today. They had two beautiful daughters and later three granddaughters. To this day, my grandpa holds RN Mrs. Bell responsible for his entire life, often referring to her as his "Raison d'etre". When he retired, he even made a brass belt buckle that he welded his wings, rank, and aurora insignia onto, in the middle he inscribed her name.
He spent a total of four decades trying to locate her so that he could thank her. He reached out to his squadron, the hospital, and even took to Facebook. In 2015, he wrote an article to the newspaper which explained the details of his story, and his search for Mrs. Bell. A week later, Tom Bell, Mrs. Bell's son replied to the article. Unfortunately, by this time she had passed away, however, my grandpa was able to convey his thanks to her family.
The lifelong impact this nurse has had on my grandpa's life inspired me to become a nurse. Nursing work often takes place at the pinnacle of patient's vulnerability, the outcomes, however, can be the most rewarding.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?The biggest highlight of my nursing career has been becoming a nurse educator at the local college and the elected Chair of the New Graduate RN Council. In these roles, I have been able to inspire and empower new graduate nurses and nursing students. I aspire to help nursing students become strong professional nurses who are equipped to exercises their maximum potential and who feel supported in their role as learners, and new graduate nurses.
What has been the most challenging?The most challenging part of my nursing career has been navigating the structural conditions that impinge on health, and learning how support patients where they are at, given the prevalence of growing health inequities. Privilege is a difficult concept to grasp, and as my understanding continues to evolve, I struggle with its presence.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Use your voice.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?It will be hard, but that's okay because you will be great. You will face adversity but you will use your voice to advocate for your patients and to confront systematic injustices. You will hold patients' hands and offer comfort and reassurance during moments of intense fear and vulnerability. You will help save lives by drawing from your expertise and knowledge-base. You will provide comfort to families after the loss of their loved ones. You will make a difference, and you will be someone's Mrs. Bell.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one word.Enigmatic .
Betty Tate, RN (retired)
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?I graduated from a hospital nursing program 50 years ago and felt for many, many years that nurses weren’t recognized for their contribution to health. So, celebrating in 2020 means that we are being recognized and appreciated for our contributions to health promotion, advocacy, social justice, education, leadership, research and so much more! I have come in contact with some amazing nurses in my career for whom I have the utmost respect and who taught me exactly what I needed at certain times in my career. This year of celebration is for all of them!
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?Honestly, I don’t have a great answer for that, other than it was all I ever wanted to do, and I entered right out of high school. The career options were much more limited for women then than they are now!
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?The great privilege of teaching /mentoring nurses and watching young nurses enter the profession with such pride and hope. I continue to be awed by the young people who enter our profession and am confident that the future of nursing is in very good hands.
What has been the most challenging?I am an activist and am always looking to change systems and my greatest challenge has been how slow this feels sometimes. Nursing and health care have come a long way but there is still so much to do!
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?To always be a life-long learner and to hold your nursing colleagues close to you – nursing is a team sport!To always be a life-long learner and to hold your nursing colleagues close to you – nursing is a team sport!
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?You are going to have a wonderful adventure. There are so many different paths to take in nursing and explore as many as you possibly can and never stop! You will make a difference in ways you might never know!
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Relationships.
Carla McGovern, RN
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?I think that the decision by the World Health Organization (WHO) to celebrate nursing is fantastic. Recognizing the nursing role not just locally but globally is a good reminder to all that what we do is the cornerstone, the building block to a better world. Through our care, we change lives. The intention isn’t to sound egotistical or grandiose, rather to just accept what is true. Nurses are there for people in their most dire times and in times of joy and celebration.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?My mum was a nurse/midwife, and I watched her and saw her commitment to her craft. She was held in high esteem in our community for her role as a midwife and I wanted that same sense of pride. She established life-long friendships with colleagues and became incredibly respected in her field. After graduation, I applied for nursing school but my grades we not good enough and the idea of a four-year commitment was daunting for me at 18 years old. So, I spent the next 15 years doing everything else I could think of. I was a hospital food service technician, rehab aide and pharmacy technician. Life changes had me step away from the health field and had me working with the public. I excelled at relationships with my clients and did well in my job, but then I reached a turning point in my profession where I was limited in taking the next step. A friend asked me what I wanted to be and my first response was “a nurse”. He asked, ‘why not?’ and my response was the same as it was before, that four years is a long time. He pointed out that four years would pass quickly regardless of what I was doing, and I could stand still doing a variety of jobs or I could be a nurse. I took the risk, applied to Camosun and was accepted. Those four years passed in the blink of an eye and going to nursing school turned into one of the best decisions I have made in my life.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?Working with patients and helping them along their journey, to be present with them and to encourage them. To help them see things may not ever be the same but that they can establish a new normal. In particular, the most rewarding patients I have had are those with a terminal diagnosis or who are palliating. Providing them with realistic options, letting them find their voice to make the decisions that aren’t offered by physicians. Sometimes physicians become so treatment-oriented or curative-focused that we fail to ask the patient “What do you want? How do you want to live your dying?”.
What has been the most challenging?It is hard working in healthcare these days. Caring for the aging, where appropriate conversations of end-of-life care are not being had, has been a big struggle for me. What we do versus what we should do is a huge ethical dilemma. Also, primary health is lacking in our current health structures. By not providing adequate resources to specific patient populations such as addictions and mental health, youth services, and aging populations requiring more LTC, we will continue to fight a losing battle.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?The system is flawed, we do the best we can with the resources we have. The care we provide can and does make the difference. Our patient is someone’s daughter, son, brother, mother etc. Care for them and speak to them as you’d like them to care for your loved one.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?The system is flawed, we do the best we can with the resources we have. The care we provide can and does make the difference. Our patient is someone’s daughter, son, brother, mother etc. Care for them and speak to them as you’d like them to care for your loved one.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one word.The truth is that one word doesn’t encompass it, but if I had to pick, I would say rewarding.
Devon Hampsey, RN, First Nations Health Authority
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?I have always been very thankful to be a nurse. My career brings me purpose, joy and challenges. Having "The year of the Nurse & Midwife" is a great reminder on those busy, tiring, stressful days, that the community is behind us and that what we do as nurses is appreciated and seen.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I was lucky to have found the career path I was passionate about right out of high school. I had a few different paths that I could have chosen from. I actually ended up getting sick in my last year of high school, and seeing the compassion, the work and the skill of the nursing team that treated me was pivotal in choosing nursing.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?I feel as though every year, every month and every day has a highlight. Nursing has brought some great moments in my life. If I had to choose though, it would have to be when I started rural/remote nursing in BC. The scope of practice, the community engagement, and working with highly skilled and caring individuals has been a critical point in my nursing career.
What has been the most challenging?There have been many challenging moments. However, listening to some amazing presenters in our annual FNHA Nursing Forum, I realized the biggest stressors are on the issues that cannot be easily changed. For example, systemic, political and organizational problems that are so obviously unfair, biased or financially constrained that it impacts how I deliver patient care.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Don't get stuck in one place. Nursing should never be boring. There are so many different and interesting ways to be a nurse, continue to explore, switch it up, take a casual line in a different department. You may find something you love or if not I’m sure you’ve developed some new skills!
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?Your understanding and compassion for the human experience will never stop growing. Get ready to have your mind blown!.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Vast.
Jenny Cheung Misar, MSN, RN, GNC(C)
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?Nurses and midwives are a critical part of the healthcare team- responding to patients and clients with an extensive body of knowledge, compassion, and care. In the era of COVID-19 it is more important than ever to celebrate the immeasurable contributions nurses and midwives make every day.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?Nursing was a natural choice for me as I have a love for biology, chemistry, psychology and helping people. I love the detective work of nursing and understanding the "why".
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?It is really hard to pick the one highlight of my nursing career... One of my proudest achievements was implementing the High-Alert Medication Policy in Fraser Health with an amazing team. It highlighted interprofessional and lower mainland collaboration at its best.
What has been the most challenging?The most challenging has been to navigate between divergent and diverse opinions to advance patient care.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Be curious, always question, and never stop learning.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?Follow your passion.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Limitless.
Mary Ann Machado, RPN, Client Partner- Fraser Health Authority, RPN Councillor
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?I've always been very proud to call myself a registered psychiatric nurse. It’s not just a profession to me, it speaks to the core of who I am and how I want people to remember me by. To have nurses and midwives celebrated internationally, validates those core values that bring the nursing professions together. We all share in a dedication to our patients, communities and colleagues in healthcare. It’s time to celebrate all the great and humble work we do each day; a time to be proud as a nursing family.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I was looking for a change and as I enjoyed interacting with the patients in my administrative position at Riverview Hospital, I decided to become a nurse. I didn't know about psychiatric nursing at the time, but was offered a spot in the program. I fell in love with the profession during my training and feel the universe has guided me on my path.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?It’s difficult to just pick one. It always comes back to the patients - interacting with them, listening to them, caring for them. They inspired me to get into nursing and have kept inspiring me throughout my 28 years of nursing.
What has been the most challenging?Starting new positions can lead to a lot of self-doubt and second thoughts. You leave behind good friends and the comfort of having confidence in your skills and abilities. Although accepting change has been the most challenging aspect of my career, it's really helped me to be honest and patient with myself and others.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Don't let fear of the unknown stop you from trying new things - whether a new job, a new committee or a new way of practice. There are so many opportunities in nursing - education, volunteering, or job prospects just to name a few. Seize your opportunities!
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?Ensure you are looking after yourself as well as your patients, it’s going to be a long and wonderful journey.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one word.Compassionate.
Michael Sandler, RN MSN CNCCC(C)
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?Nurses are at the heart of healthcare teams throughout the province and have tremendous potential to influence transformative change in our healthcare system. As professionals, we encounter issues that affect our practice, our communities, our patients and our families. Nurses are well positioned to lead the way in developing new models of care and to advocate for and support efforts to promote a more efficient system. Recognizing the key role nurses play in promoting health and wellness across our province is an intrinsic part of utilizing nursing to its full potential.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?In all honesty, I did not know I wanted to be nurse. I was accepted to the Douglas College Diploma program and almost didn't go. Looking back, I am eternally grateful that the people in my life gave me a gentle push. I can't imagine doing anything else.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?My most rewarding experience so far has been the opportunity to work at the Association. Leading a team of dedicated professionals who all share the same goal is both humbling and exhilarating. I am continually impressed by the level of competence displayed by this team. The professional voice of nursing in this province is in great hands!
What has been the most challenging?For me the most challenging part of nursing is the regulatory environment that we work in. I am continually surprised at the variability of nursing practice based on geographical location. The missing pieces to the nursing scope in BC limit our ability to provide optimal care. I am hoping that through the Association we can bring the BC scope of practice in line with our colleagues to the north, east and south of us.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?It takes time to adjust to nursing. Nursing is unique in its complexity so don't give up on it.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?Nursing is difficult, beautiful, heartbreaking and fulfilling all in the same day. I would want to remind myself that nursing is vast and varied that there is room to grow in a myriad of different directions, whether its clinical bedside, research, leadership education or advocacy, nursing will have a spot just for you.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in a few words.This is the only profession where you can stimulate a baby to take her very first breath in the morning and help a palliative patient take their last breath with dignity that same evening. We are privileged to be invited into the most intimate spaces of the human existence. Nothing that I know compares to that privilege.
Monica McAlduff, RPN, BHSc, MA
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?I think it's an amazing opportunity for people all over our province, country and the world to celebrate nurses and the contributions they make to healthcare. This is unfortunately a time when health care professionals are in the spotlight so anything we can do to promote and celebrate nurses is a great opportunity.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I became a psychiatric nurse in the early 90's and for me it was a role where I could advocate and really spend time with patients in a therapeutic way as I walked alongside their journey to health and mental wellness. I feel it's a privilege to be a nurse and to have been a part of so many people's health experiences and I don’t take that lightly. Once I heard of the profession of psychiatric nursing I knew it was a fit for me as I really enjoy connecting and supporting people at the psychological level.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?One of my biggest highlights of my nursing career was my time working in an ER dept. in the Lower Mainland. When you are doing initial assessments and seeing patients and families at their most critical time of their illness, was really an interesting experience.
What has been the most challenging?I have worked in administration for a large part of my career and one of my challenges is the balance between fiscal limitations and service delivery. We all know healthcare does not have an endless supply of resources so how do we come to a way of delivering services without compromising patient care? Being a frontline nurse and having that experience helps keep me grounded in the knowledge of what is really important.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Stay true to your values and don't compromise! When you think something really matters you need to advocate for what you believe in and make sure your voice is heard. You may not get your desired outcome but at least you spoke up and who knows what kind of impact you made for future decisions.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?I would tell myself to enjoy all the different experiences (even the dreaded night shifts) as they all contribute to knowledge and help build capacity. Don't take learning opportunities for granted.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in a few words.Amazing-it's diverse, humbling and you are always learning!
Pat Meyer, RN, MN
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?This year is significant for me because I graduated 47 years ago and I have seen the nursing profession move from an apprenticeship model to an academic model. Therefore, nurses now have more voice in health care.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I always wanted to be a nurse. I read many of the Cherry Ames books as a preteen, a sure sign of things to come(!) and was a Candy Striper from age 13-18. I entered Toronto General School of Nursing in 1971 and graduated in 1973.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?I have two. The first was a 22 year career as a Nursing Officer in the Canadian Forces where I had the opportunity to work in ICU and cardiology in larger military hospitals, complete the Aeromedical Evacuation and basic Obstetrical courses, work on active flying bases in Canada and Germany, work cross culturally among the Haida, work as a Military Career Counsellor, and complete a bridging degree from the University of Victoria. The second was post "retirement". For the past 19 years I have had the pleasure of teaching in BSN programs; first at Grande Prairie Regional College in the University of Alberta collaborative, and finally here at Vancouver Island University. I was also able to complete my MN from Athabasca University while working full time. I have found excitement in focusing primarily on first year nursing students' success.
What has been the most challenging?Trying to decide when to retire for good! But seriously, the times I spent in management positions were the least satisfying for me as I tried to balance competing needs of personnel.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Stay only in positions that give you joy and challenge. Never stop learning, never stop growing, never stop caring.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?The world is your oyster. Go out and take every opportunity that presents itself. Live life to the fullest and nurse with all your heart.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Understanding.
Patti Telford, RN
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?The Year of the Nurse & Midwife is a recognition of the vital role nurses play in health care globally. This year is an opportunity for all of us to celebrate the magnitude of change in healthcare that has been led by nurses. We belong in all the conversations and this year celebrates all that we are and all that we will need to continue being to transform healthcare. It’s nurses that will do this collectively.
nbsp; It is a very momentous year to be an active RN in the 150th year of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. She was foundational to our profession. She set standards that are important for our work, now more than ever. She was a leader of nurses that embodied what is required from a leader in times that seem challenging. We have become the world’s most trusted profession and with that comes great responsibility. It is an honour to be a nurse in 2020 and celebrating this year is critical to our future. &
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I became a nurse because I knew that I would be exceptional at it. I worked with people before I entered nursing and I simply had a deep knowing that I could be and serve people in their most vulnerable times.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?The biggest highlight for me is having a 30 year career that was filled with such amazing opportunities.
What has been the most challenging?The most challenging is hearing and witnessing how we treat each other as nurses. How individuals feel bullied by the colleagues. How leaders belittle their staff and don’t take right action for fear of something deeper that is unhealed in them. How nursing organizations criticize and speak poorly about other nursing organizations. How we as a profession have not been able to rise above all of this to be the impactful powerhouse of professionals that we are being called to be.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Know that you are the leader of your own career. You always have a say. You always have a choice. You are smart, knowledgeable and it is ok to say you don’t know something. If you aren’t getting what you need in ANY situation keep asking for help/guidance/direction from everyone around until you do get what you need. AND then remember when someone is asking you for help it is your time to step up.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?Get ready! Stay humble. You are about to have a career that you never expected. You will feel every emotion you can imagine. You will witness and experience things you never thought possible. You will end each day knowing at your core that you made a difference in someone’s life that day. You will look back 30 years from now and you will be amazed at how this career has unfolded.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Transformational.
Shaely Ritchey, RNShaely is a registered nurse with interest in further education in nursing. She is also a passionate mental health advocate in her community.
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?Many of the nurses I know are the most giving, resilient, and kind-hearted people I’ve come across. They walk beside people journeying through some of the most challenging and life-changing moments in life. They witness the most beautiful and painful experiences every day at work. They are tireless advocates and hard-working researchers helping to shape policy and the future of healthcare. They are truly amazing people and I am honoured to celebrate my colleagues in the work we do.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I chose nursing because I fell in love with the sciences, because I watched my mother’s passion for her own career in nursing, but perhaps most of all, because I knew I wanted to give back and help others based on my own experiences as a patient. It was the nurses who I remembered. They walked me through the darkest nights in my own life. I knew I wanted to be that for others.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?The highlights are in the everyday. Highlights show up in in the support I have from my colleagues who understand just how joyous and challenging this work can be and are always there to offer a helping hand, i the times I get to hold my patient’s hand and sit with them through one of the hardest moments in their life and in the times people thank you for the smallest things like the reminder that it is okay to ask for help and to receive it. There is nothing like being able to support someone through one of the most challenging and vulnerable moments in their life.
What has been the most challenging?This work is certainly heavy at times, but I find the biggest challenges come from a healthcare system that is needing to evolve faster than it can. There are points where you know people are falling through the cracks and you can only do your best with what you have and continue to advocate for change that will better support people. What inspires me is the individual people who do extraordinary work within that evolving system. That is never lost even if it feels like change is slow.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Ask for help. It’s new, it’s scary, it’s overwhelming, but you’re not alone. We are a team, we are each other’s resources, we are in this together. It is always better to ask questions, seek feedback, and collaborate with your colleagues. It is something you will be doing for the rest of your career, not just as a new graduate.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?Your heart belongs in this work. It is a gift you will find for yourself. It is your passion and your purpose, and it will take you places you never expected. Always come back to it as your guiding light.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one word.Heart.
Shandell King, RN, NP student
NNPBC NP Councillor - Student Representative
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?I have been an RN for 13 years now and when I think about what progress I’ve seen in our profession in just that short time frame it blows my mind to consider the evolution of nursing over centuries. There was a not-too-long-ago time when nurses were not ‘permitted’ to conduct blood pressure readings on patients; it was firmly within a physician’s scope only. Now, in 2020, when I think about the ever-expanding scope of practise for nurses and midwives, I am giddy with delight at what we are trained to do, what we are capable of doing, and what is yet to come. Nursing is so far from what it used to be, not to mention so far from the common stereotypes of nursing. For the WHO to dedicate 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife is recognition of the profound work that nurses and midwives do all over the world to prevent illness, treat disease, and promote health. There is good reason why nurses are consistently ranked top in the listings of most trusted professions amongst the general public, and I’m thrilled that the WHO is doing its part to recognize these roles.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I come from a long family history of healers and nurses; it was inevitable I would find myself on this path one day too. My mother grew up on the North Coast of B.C., and is a Fireweed woman from the Gitk’san First Nations of the upper Skeena River valley. I have lived and worked in wild places my whole life thanks to her northern sway. Fireweed women were historically known as the healers or the medicine women in the community where my mom grew up, so nursing was a clear path for her too as it likely was for her aunt. I completed an undergraduate double-major at UVic in Women’s Studies and Environmental Studies and was left wondering how to use my newfound knowledge of social justice and gender inequities in the everyday world. How could I apply theory to life, and do my small part to balance the inequities of the world? How can I best serve women and families? Through conversations with the women I adore and admire in my own family, caring for people in crisis percolated to the surface, and I applied to UBC’s accelerated BScN program, graduating in 2007.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?I value the opportunities that nursing gives me to meet and connect with new people, learn about different communities and cultures, and offer help where I can. Nursing has afforded me so many opportunities for travel and adventure that I never knew were possible in this profession. Much of my work as an RN(c) has been as an outpost nurse in remote Indigenous communities throughout northern B.C. (Haida Gwaii, Bella Coola, Gitxaala, Lax Kw’alaams, Ulkatcho, amongst others), and my time in these communities has been beyond fulfilling. I also have significant experience in both rural emergency (Pemberton and Whistler) and obstetrical care (Squamish, Vancouver, and Prince Rupert), along with shorter stints in disaster relief work in Haiti. Beyond the good feeling of providing essential primary care to under-resourced communities, I have also developed life-long friendships with fellow outpost and rural nurses that only a few could understand. We share 48-hour call shifts together; we problem-solve how to get wolves off helipads together so that BCAS can land; we get creative in demanding situations when geographical isolation complicates everything; we welcome new life and care for the dying together, usually without the bells and whistles and resources reserved for urban setting. Every day is unpredictable in this work, and I just adore that about rural and remote nursing. It is an absolute privilege to share this career with so many (can I say it?) badass women and men who all share the desire to make the world a better place by promoting health in hard-to-reach locales.
What has been the most challenging?Ha! Graduate School! I am currently completing the full-time Masters of Nursing - Nurse Practitioner (Family) program at UVic, and plan to graduate this summer 2020. It has been quite the shift to go from confident, competent RN to novice, newbie student NP! I am so grateful that I have the outpost experience that I do, since so much of the autonomy and the expanded scope that comes with an RN(c) role overlaps with the NP scope, but becoming an NP is still a massive professional shift in knowledge and responsibility, and this program is undoubtedly the most challenging part of my nursing career yet. To be fair, it could be because of having two preschoolers underfoot complicates things, although they’re invaluable in helping me to keep perspective during this particularly wild and busy time of life. I am so grateful to, and so humbled by, the many NPs who are forging the path for NPs in British Columbia. I know from talking to many of them that progress has been challenging for a variety of reasons. Thanks to their collective efforts, integrating and fully leveraging NPs full scope of practise into B.C.’s current primary care system is happening, and I recognize that my own path to becoming an NP is easier because of all of the hustle and advocacy they have done. Challenges remain, but the future is bright!
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?I remember those early weeks and months of nursing school when I thought that to be a good nurse, I just needed to know how to put tubes into holes since so much of our training was focused on that tangible skill set: IVs, NGs, urinary catheters, blood draws, etc. I figured I was a good nurse when I had such dexterities, but as time went on and my experiences in nursing grew, I came to realize that nursing has little to do with tubes, and everything to do with communication. Few care how good you are at tube-placement if you are terrible at communicating what you’re doing, or why, or if you don’t share a smile or a laugh with the person and his or her family, or if you don’t introduce yourself before poking someone with a needle, etc. Task competency is, of course, an important aspect of nursing but I would argue that communication competency is vital. Knowing how to talk to patients and their families with compassion and humour is now the benchmark of a good nurse in my mind and will carry a new nurse through any situation (especially the times when tube-placement isn’t going very well!).
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?“I’m so glad you made the choice you did, girl, because you are setting out on a grand adventure of a lifetime (and you’re going to be paid to do it!)"
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one word.Heart.
Shawna Whitney RN/BSN, MPH
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?I think it is so appropriate more so during this time. Watching fellow nurses sacrifice and stand together in the wake of a global pandemic brings tears and heart felt compassion to see these amazing people giving of themselves and their skills to simply help mankind.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I had various reasons... just an interest in pathology, biology, leadership, education, healing process, connection, and self and others. All of these and more embody nursing, I just didn’t know it at the time. I am so blessed that nursing found me!
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?The biggest highlights have been the countless human connections made, and the opportunities to contribute to research, advocacy and education. It’s also like "light bulbs" go on when we discuss the whole person in relation to their health and wellness. Their environment, their support systems, their home, mental wellness, nutrition- these all contribute to wellness.
What has been the most challenging?The most challenging parts are knowing that health care services and resources and all of the other social determinants of health require much more emphasis and reform. Especially for the long term health and wellness of populations that we know have poorer health outcomes and higher rates of chronic illness/conditions.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?There will be countless avenues and specialities to pursue in your nursing career. Settle on a few that bring you energy and satisfaction, keep it fresh and stay curious, welcome to life long learning! You will not be disappointed!
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?I would say even though you may feel nervous and unsure of yourself right now with the enormous responsibility of someone's life and loved ones relying on you, know that you are trusted, you are extremely knowledgeable and you will master leadership and confidence, because that is the journey of nursing. Gentle strength.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Dedication.
Sherri Kensall, RN, NNPBC Board Director/RN Councillor
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?I see this as an opportunity to showcase some of the amazing work that nurses are doing every day (and night). As I’ve worked across the health region in acute, community and primary care, I’ve witnessed incredible work from my nursing colleagues. Nurses support patients in a range of ways from basic physical needs to high tech complex life supportive care, to coaching around healthy lifestyles and disease specific conditions. This is also an opportunity to learn more around nursing roles around the globe and how we can work together to elevate health care.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?I was able to observe some very strong nurses providing care. I saw them as being intelligent and innovative, working with patients when they were vulnerable. They seemed to know exactly what to do in any situation and fought for their patients. I also saw the flexibility in nursing. You look at almost any career and there is a nursing role related to it.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?I think the biggest highlight was a time when I was working in an acute care hospital in our hemodialysis unit and, at the same time, still worked some shifts in the medicine and surgical units. I was also working as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner in the Emergency Department and, doing hemodialysis runs in the ICU. At that time, I felt like I belonged in the entire hospital and was a part of a huge community coming together.
Another area that I found most rewarding was working with patients within a chronic disease management framework from the time they were early in their diagnosis with Chronic Renal Failure through to end of life care. During that time, we would often have discussions with patients including their family around what was important to them if ever they reached a time when they couldn’t speak for themselves. Over a period of months we worked on documenting their wishes in an advance care plan. With a couple of patients I was very privileged to be able to support them and their families to make sure that their wishes were honoured and that their passing was as good as it could be.
What has been the most challenging?It’s most challenging when we lose patients that have been with us for a long time and we’ve gotten to know them and their families. In the renal community, much like in long term care, we work with many patients over many years and develop strong relationships with patients and their families.
On a very practical level, in a nursing career, it’s also challenging to provide care on a 24/7 basis. Working night shifts, weekends and being on call can be very hard on your body and on your family life. I knew that this was an integral part of nursing going into it, but it can be difficult.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Be kind to yourselves and remember why you are here. We often feel like we should be able to anticipate and control everything including death. We are still human and do our best every day. Approach your patients with your clinical nursing expertise including your sense of respect and honour for our patients as fellow humans.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?This is an amazing career, filled with potential. You can be any type of nurse that you want to be, reach high and always keep learning.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in a few words.Humanizing, honouring, amazing.
Tammi Guimond, LPN
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?It is thrilling to be part of a global acknowledgement of a vocation that is similar worldwide. Care provided by a nurse or midwife is the same globally. Even though we may not speak the same languages or live in the same region, we will look after you no matter the situation. That is a beautiful, unique commonality. It is special to me to be part of such well-known profession. I share and celebrate this with my friends.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?Even from the time I was a little girl, I always wanted to take care of people. I wanted to help people feel better and be comfortable. I played ‘nurse’ with a little medical kit (I looked after my grandad a lot) and later I was a candystriper in my local hospital in 100 Mile House. I keep my nametag on my fridge. I strayed from my nursing aspirations for a few years (okay, 24!) and then I just decided one day that being a nurse was an enormous goal. So I went to college at 38 years old, which was a life-changing event for me and I never looked back. Nursing is my life’s work now for the last 15 years.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?I have been lucky to have so many, and they just keep coming. Some are big, some are small. I love it when nursing students hug me in Save-On to thank me for helping them get through school (and the truth is they helped themselves, I just watched over them). I also treasure the times when I have represented the nursing voice provincially. Sometimes I meet families who thank me for looking after their loved one (no thanks are necessary and it always makes me ugly cry) and that’s really marvelous. I was a keynote speaker for new graduates a couple of times and that was really thrilling.
What has been the most challenging?Fatigue, being tired, burnout, red tape, night shifts, day shifts, my own biases, my own perceived limitations, lack of confidence. You just have to vault over that crap and keep going and lift up your colleagues as you go.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Be kind, be real, be human, cry when you need to, and help everyone.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?When I was a new grad I told myself “Say yes to everything, every opportunity” and it really worked. I have had some incredible opportunities and been mentored by dedicated nurses. I think I would have liked someone to tell me to not lose confidence in myself when I was tired or anxious. I had some struggles. I still struggle. Maybe that is what I would have told myself: “you will struggle, but keep going.”
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Care.
Teresa McFadyen, LPN Council President, NNPBC Board Member.Teresa currently works at Royal Jubilee, Oncology & General Medicine in beautiful Victoria, BC.
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?It means that the world will take notice of what nurses and midwives do in every town, village, community, home, hospital, care centre, and neighbourhood. We are everywhere caring for all. We are connected to everyone whether they realize it or not.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?Right out of high school, I knew I wanted to be a nurse however was dissuaded from it because people said it was too hard and too physical. I went on to marry and have four children. Having been laid off from my job, a friend asked me what I wanted to do and I replied almost immediately “become a nurse”. So, at 45 I headed back to school and became an LPN. My passion is palliative care. There is an honour and privilege in being present with patients and families during such an intimate and personal time as death. While death can be sad and scary, it is nurses who provide clarity and comfort and walks the journey with the patient and family.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?Knowing that I can and do make a difference every day even if it is just a smile or a kind word.
What has been the most challenging?Knowing that the system is flawed and sometimes people fall through the cracks in spite of best intentions. All of us in healthcare want the best outcomes possible for our patients yet sometimes we are left feeling "it wasn't enough".
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Use your voice, advocate, never stop learning and continue asking questions like why not? Treat patients as you would your family member.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?Be proud of your accomplishment while recognizing those around you are there to support and nurture your growth in the profession. Use their knowledge to augment your learning. We were all new grads at some point.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.A calling.
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?Itmeannot.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?Rightfamily.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?Knowingword.
What has been the most challenging?Knowinnough.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to new nurses/midwives?Usyoumember.
What would you tell your new graduate self about your future in nursing/midwifery?Beproudoint.
Describe Nursing/Midwifery in one or two words.Aalling.
What does it mean to you to be celebrating 2020 as the Year of the Nurse & Midwife?
This year is significant for me because I graduated 47 years ago and I have seen the nursing profession move from an apprenticeship model to an academic model. Therefore, nurses now have more voice in health care.
Why did you decide to enter the nursing/midwifery profession?
I always wanted to be a nurse. I read many of the Cherry Ames books as a preteen, a sure sign of things to come(!) and was a Candy Striper from age 13-18. I entered Toronto General School of Nursing in 1971 and graduated in 1973.
What has been the biggest highlight of your nursing/midwifery career?
I have two. The first was a 22 year career as a Nursing Officer in the Canadian Forces where I had the opportunity to work in ICU and cardiology in larger military hospitals, complete the Aeromedical Evacuation and basic Obstetrical courses, work on active flying bases in Canada and Germany, work cross culturally among the Haida, work as a Military Career Counsellor, and complete a bridging degree from the University of Victoria. The second was post "retirement". For the past 19 years I have had the pleasure of teaching in BSN programs; first at Grande Prairie Regional College in the University of Alberta collaborative, and finally here at Vancouver Island University. I was also able to complete my MN from Athabasca University while working full time. I have found excitement in focusing primarily on first year nursing students' success.