The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the courage and commitment that nurses work under every day and showed the important role that nurses play in the community. The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) has themed National Nursing Week 2021 #WeAnswerTheCall to showcase the many roles nurses play in a patient’s health-care journey. In recognition of National Nursing Week, the University of Lethbridge is honoured to share a sampling of stories from our nursing students, alumni and faculty to showcase how they, and nurses everywhere, answer the call.
To all nurses, we say thank you.
“We Answer the Call means to act in a way that exceeds the standards of nursing guidelines; To be the living embodiment of nurses who strive to be better and lead the community into an improved state of well-being; To not let fear hold you back from acting, especially during extreme circumstances such as during this pandemic.”
uLethbridge Master of Nursing student
Why did you choose nursing?
I have always had a passion for medicine and a drive to advocate for those who cannot do so for themselves. There is immense satisfaction in helping others recognize their potential and watch as they attain their wellness goals.
Who has inspired on your journey. Why and how?
My family – always supporting and encouraging me to become my best self
Work colleague – through her passion to be better than average she taught me to push for the same, to reach beyond what I thought I could accomplish
Work colleague – who carried a mini copy of CARNA’s nursing practice guidelines every working day – she taught me to be mindful of boundaries and recognizing my own fitness to practice
Work colleague – through his constant questioning of ‘status quo’ taught me to think outside the box to look for solutions and ways to bring teams together to improve the healthcare services I provide.
Indirect nurse colleagues who live the embodiment of call to nursing, who have the ability to lift those around them.
Indirect nurse colleagues that were less than stellar who inspired me to be better because they were either happy with status quo, never improving, fighting change, OR because their passions lay elsewhere.
The theme for this year’s National Nursing Week is, #WeAnswerTheCall. What does that phrase mean to you?
We Answer the Call means to act in a way that exceeds the standards of nursing guidelines; To be the living embodiment of nurses who strive to be better and lead the community into an improved state of well-being; To not let fear hold you back from acting, especially during extreme circumstances such as during this pandemic.
Why did you decide to pursue your Master of Nursing?
Before entering the nursing field I had completed a BSc in Biological Sciences because I wanted to become a veterinarian. I moved from Ontario to Alberta in order to pursue human health and since I had school debt, I didn’t want to spend another four years to get my BN at the time. So chose the RN diploma route at Lethbridge College and since I love learning and always intended to get my MN or NP, I knew I would be able to get the licensure to be able to practice anywhere. I also have a passion for teaching others and long to help young nurses find their passions to become better every day.
What does your research focus on? What do you hope your research will accomplish?
I work with a group of primary care family practice clinics. I fell in love with brain mechanics and gene expression, with a special interest in how toxic (chronic) stress in early childhood can affect adult health. We are in a world that throws money away to manage chronic illnesses (whether it be related to diabetes, coronary artery disease, depression, anxiety, addictions, etc.). As primary care principles tout prevention tactics, we need primary prevention tactics meaning stopping before they start. This can be accomplished by engaging with caregivers of young families to understand the impact of toxic stress, what executive function skills are already present, and how to load the caregiver toolbox with strategies with a strength-based resiliency focus.
What has your education experience been like at uLethbridge?
It has been a roller coaster for sure. I started in a thesis route because I couldn’t see what kind of project I’d be able to do with my original topic and there was no data out there to support what I was thinking. Every semester had ups and downs and thank goodness for some very influential instructors and the friends I made along way. I often felt like I had no idea what I was doing and what we learned in class really stretched me personally. Despite the change in my core beliefs and life focus, everything always came together in the end.
What advice would you share with anyone wanting to pursue a career in nursing?
Nursing is not an easy career, but it is extremely rewarding. Volunteer at a hospital, in group homes or care facilities. Get a part time job and see what it’s really like. Because being a nurse isn’t about making it to the top for the glamour. It’s about getting dirty and being humble enough to be an amazing nurse at the top but still willing to get ‘dirty’ if the patient / client needs you to. Make sure that it’s something you like first, because we need nurses who are fully committed and willing to #Answerthecall.