Danielle Bourque

Danielle Bourque 2018My own experiences growing up in my Cree family, defines who I am today.  I, like many other Indigenous people, know about the behaviours that stem from our colonialized past that produce intergenerational trauma.  I have come to understand that my early experiences, and in particular, my early exposure to nursing through my mother, influenced my original calling to nursing.  As my mother often tells me, I was born into nursing as she was finishing her nursing degree at the University of Alberta when she went into labour with me and my sister.

Just as we are born into the world, we learn to see first the faces of our mothers, and we come to know of our place in the world through our life experiences within our family, which then shapes how we think and act.  Through my mother’s life experiences as a residential school and “Sixties scoop” survivor, I began suffering alongside her listening to her truths.  In grasping the impact of these experiences on me, I understood why my mother shielded me from learning these truths.  However, it solidified my path in nursing as a leader and an advocate as I saw her blaze a similar path in her nursing career.

My mother often tells me we are gifted with the nursing spirit and to always stay true to that spirit and to earn the knowledge that goes with that gift.  Thus, I am on a continuous journey of learning and knowing which has led me to where I am today, completing a master’s degree in nursing with a focus on Indigenous health.