Nova Scotia Nurses Award
I took an indirect route to nursing and to my future role as a nurse practitioner. Following a Masters degree in sociology and international relations I worked with the Canadian NGO Pueblo Partisans in indigenous agricultural cooperatives in Guatemala. We developed a model that allows communities to repay land loans via credits earned through participation in community development initiatives. In this setting I discovered that in addition to community building skills, I wished to address the health needs of the population I worked with. I obtained my initial nursing certification at UBC, and was the student commencement speaker upon our graduation. The importance of timely and professional nursing care was made evident when I was found unconscious following a bicycle accident while a student at UBC. This incident and my complete recovery because of excellent care informed my decision to pursue work in Emergency Nursing. In Emergency we serve people across the life span: we treat children, pregnant mothers, adults with traumatic injuries, the frail elderly as those living with mental illness and addictions. Here I took part in research that illustrates the connection between healthy work environments and positive patient outcomes. As well, I initiated a project to assist Emergency Department staff model healthy lifestyles through healthy diet choices at work. I am now a nurse practitioner student at Dalhousie. Following this, I plan to work in primary care while continuing work with marginalized populations, both in Canada and internationally.