Award Recipient

Mary Smith

TD Aboriginal Nursing Award – PhD

At one time, I would have never have dreamed that I would be a nurse who would go on to being enrolled in a PhD program! I remember at the age of 16 struggling, living in a house with one room and without electricity and water and taking risks that could have put me in a dark place. It is through the genuine love from my family, community, all the people I know and the spirit beyond that has given me the privilege to walk this path and take this direction in life.

I believe my most important lessons actually came through enduring hardships and being connected to a people where resilience, wisdom and inspiration comes from knowing nature and learning from the ways of the past. To me understanding history is key and the way to go forward. The Beausoleil First Nation, where many of my family members reside today, is the beautiful community where I developed as a person.  I think of learning as climbing a mountain, where you may stumble or even fall off the cliff a few times but you have to get back on and persevere on that beautiful trail to make it to that higher place.

A priority for me is to give back through my efforts in health care as a Nurse Practitioner and as a researcher and educator.  I have seen much ill health especially kidney disease in my own family and community. Also, I know great personal losses and I want to push ahead with care for those suffering from addictions and mental health struggles. Being a nurse allows me to care for others and stimulate positive change through education and research.  Becoming a nurse is a way to make things better for not only yourself and your family but also for your people and country.  Imagine if more of us were nurses, would not this world be a better place? I am so thankful for this scholarship that will allow me to achieve my full potential in nursing. Meegwetch!

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