Where are you from?
I was born in Lethbridge actually, but never thought I would make my forever home here. I worked as a service aide at the local hospital and was always so impressed by the work of the health care professionals around me. It was either medicine or nursing, and my mom (an RN) told me I should do medicine, so of course I did nursing. I am so glad I did, I have a wonderful career! I finished my three-year diploma in nursing at the Foothills Hospital in Calgary, worked in ICU/Emergency both in Calgary and here at St. Mike's, then did my post-diploma BN here at the U of L. In 1993, I finished a graduate degree with a clinical specialty in respiratory care at U of C and then did a policy-focused PhD at U of A. So, I am truly an Alberta girl! I met and married my wonderful husband Bill in 1988 and he has a company here, so our choice to live in Lethbridge was made. I’ve never have regretted that. Lethbridge is a great place to live and raise children and, of course, it has a WONDERFUL University!
When did you join the U of L and what are your main responsibilities?
I first worked at the U of L right after Bill and I got married in 1988. I left my position as a clinical educator at St. Mike's to become an academic assistant in the "School of Nursing" at U of L. I taught health assessment, taught in the clinical environment, and organized student practica. I left in 1994 to do other things in the health system. I was a health services analyst, a clinical trials coordinator and eventually a senior leader in the former Chinook Health Region. I returned in 2011 to my University, as an assistant, then associate professor and I am currently the Associate Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences--helping lead the best faculty on campus!
What’s the best thing about your job?
That's easy. It's the people — students, staff and faculty. We have a great team in Health Sciences, and with all this virtual working, I can tell you that I have new appreciation for the collegial, friendly, fun work environment that is our faculty. I really miss the hallway conversations, the students who drop in to say hi, and the wisdom of colleagues gleaned from just 'poking my head' into their offices. Truly, this is the best job I've ever had.
What’s the best thing about being a nurse in general?
Nursing is all about working in relationship with people to support them as they live their health, and help them as they choose ways to maintain, regain or improve their health — what could be more important than that? The great part is that it’s relevant to every part of life for every human and I truly believe that is the reason nursing is such a flexible career. You can literally go anywhere and work in any sector as a nurse! I've had so many different areas of focus in my own career: research, quality improvement, policy, administration, teaching, professional advocacy and leadership. It is an education that prepares you well for many different paths.
With this week being National Nursing Week, what do you wish everyone knew about nursing?
I wish everyone knew that nursing isn't just about hospitals and illness. The work nurses do in hospitals is incredibly important, but it's all people seem to talk about and it's only part of the picture. For example, in this crazy COVID world, all we hear about are the heroic nurses on the front lines in the hospital. Now, don't get me wrong — this work is incredibly challenging and hard and yes, it is heroic. But what we don't hear about are the public and community health nurses out there who work hard every day to ensure a healthier population through community development, health promotion, individual and population health risk assessment, health education, health policy work, immunization and more. They are also, right now, working FLAT OUT to do testing, contact tracing, risk assessment, health education, health system navigation for folks who are so scared, and so much more. This is also incredibly challenging, hard and yes, it is heroic! So, when you think of nursing, think of the bigger picture of health — please!