Award Recipient

Natania Abebe

CNF COVID-19 Person of Colour Award

In 2017, I graduated from nursing school and became the first nurse in my family. As a first-generation African immigrant, my desire to pursue nursing was fostered by an ethos of compassion and wanting to improve structural and social health inequities that lead to poorer health outcomes for marginalized populations. However, after working “within the system”, I realized that I needed to re-imagine my role as a nurse leader. Consequently, in 2019, I decided to pursue a double master’s degree in nursing and public health at the University of British Columbia. As a new grad, I found myself lacking strong mentorship, particularly when it came to understanding how I could integrate equity-oriented practices into my care. I often felt moral distress caring for marginalized populations who were then discharged from the hospital only to find themselves in precarious situations. I quickly realized that the health care system is deeply disconnected from the realities individuals face upon discharge, including housing, economic inequality and food security. This further exacerbates the disconnect between the realities of health care service provision and the core values of nursing. In hopes of harmonizing both nursing values and the everyday realities of health care services, taking on a leadership role in healthcare would provide me an opportunity to use my voice to be the “on the ground” systems changer. As someone who values continual learning and building relationships and communities, I want to foster an environment of advocacy, continual learning and evidence-based practice through collaboration and innovation. I am thankful to CNF for their support in leveraging my voice to foster systems change and bring diverse perspectives to nursing leadership.

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