Indigenous Nurses Day celebrates our hard working Haida nurses that care for all of our citizens and our neighbours on Haida Gwaii. They are the ones who support us and our family members when we enter the emergency room or hospital and who attend to us when we are in the clinic. As they go about their day they carry with them their culture and clan as a part of their nursing practice.
Help us celebrate all the nurses at the Xaaynang.nga Naay Living house, Skidegate Health Centre, Xaayda Gwaay Ngaasysdll Naay Haida Gwaii Healing House Queen Charlotte Hospital, the Gaaw Old Massett Clinic and the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital, and Health Centre in Gaaw Old Massett. Today is a part of a week of celebrations from sea to sea to sea.
“Encountering a Haida nurse immediately breaks down some of the barriers to accessing health care” says GyaaXagaay ‘Uwans Lauren Brown about the value of having Haida nurses in our health care system.
Sandra Edgars has been a nurse for over five years and recently returned home to work in her community.
“It’s so good to be back on Haida Gwaii working in my community,” she says, speaking from the Masset Clinic while on shift at the Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre in Gaaw.
GyaaXagaay ‘Uwans graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1998 from the University of British Columbia and is currently the health director at the Xaaynang.nga Naay.
Finally, to all our nursing students, we salute you and your academic excellence in a career that will help the Nation move forward in a healthy and strong way.
“Building capacity in our communities will empower our people, this is a key element for the healing of our people to continue. I encourage our Haida people to enter the health field, there will be many opportunities now and in the future” says GyaaXagaay ‘Uwans.
Her words influence nursing students, like Paula Young who is currently in her second year at the College of New Caledonia in Prince George. Next January she will complete her practicum and enter into her 3rd year of the nursing program.
“I find nursing to be very exciting; rewarding and yet challenging at the same.”
She encourages others to rise up and work towards a brighter future.
“All of our life experiences; the good and the bad, help build us into the strong, resilient individuals we were meant to be. I encourage others to take those experiences; learn from them, embrace them and live for a better future.”
Young will graduate in two years as a fully registered nurse and plans to return home to work.
If you know any others or are an indigenous nurse, please comment below to be recognized.