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A female Indigenous nursing student stands in front of the College of Nursing building.

Kristen Pot when she was a student at the College of Nursing in 2018.

Celebrating UM Indigenous nursing grads

May 12, 2022 — 

In honour of National Nursing Week, Mahkwa omushki kiim: Pathway to Indigenous Nursing Education (PINE), which offers support to Indigenous students at the College of Nursing in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, reached out to several Indigenous nursing alumni to learn about their careers and reflections on their time at UM. Below are a selection of the responses.

Dayna Bradburn [BN/20] 
Registered nurse, Health Sciences Centre

What are some highlights from your nursing journey?
The human connections I make with my patients are the highlight of my day. To have a normal interaction beyond their medical circumstance for a brief moment, makes my job more meaningful. There is nothing more rewarding than making an impact on your patients’ overall well-being. It is the one thing that makes me proud to be a nurse.

What is one challenge you faced throughout your journey?
One challenge I’ve faced and continue to practice is managing my time and priorities. I begin with the crucial things first and then plan out the rest of my day with a list. I find it helps when I can see each task I can take off at a time. I always ask for help when I need it. At the end of the day it’s important to remind yourself that you did your best.

Maryssa Bunn

Maryssa Bunn [BN/18]
Community health nurse, Long Plain Health Centre

What are some highlights from your nursing journey?
After graduation I waited to be offered a position at HSC Women’s Hospital. I entered as a relief nurse and had the good fortune to train on all the units in the hospital. I most enjoyed the mother-baby unit (post-partum), where I eventually held a permanent position before transitioning to community health. I always had the goal as a nurse of working in community health, to target preventative health before clients end up in acute care.

What would you tell other Indigenous students interested in attending the College of Nursing?
The support system for Aboriginal students at UM is amazing to help you adjust to your new setting. There are tutors if you’re struggling, and Migizii-Agamik is an amazing resource to make you feel at home. Don’t feel discouraged like you cannot do it – there will be barriers to you even starting. Try and try again.

Taneisha Dumas

Taneisha Dumas [BN/19]
Registered nurse, children’s emergency department, Health Sciences Centre

What are some highlights from your nursing journey?
It’s about the little moments that make me happy I’ve chosen this career. I really enjoy the chance to distract kids and give them a positive experience during a really scary time. I feel like I’ve met so many families and patients that it blends together sometimes, but I find it very rewarding when I get the chance to see a patient I’ve taken care of in the past.

What would you tell other Indigenous students interested in attending the College of Nursing?

You have so much to bring to the profession. Everyone has different life experience but the variety of experiences will help you connect with different people. Be proud that you can love a career that so many people admit to never being able to do. It is a lot of hard work that never actually stops, but if you’re up for it, it’s incredibly rewarding and special.

Melissa Peters

Melissa Peters [BN/20]
Registered nurse, St. Boniface Hospital

What is one challenge you faced throughout your journey?

Overcoming my fear of blood and wounds! Slowly but surely, I was able to face this fear and I am now able to do wound care and give needles confidently.

What would you tell other Indigenous students interested in attending the College of Nursing?

It is a lot of hard work that never actually stops. But if you’re up for it, it’s incredibly rewarding and special. When I was beginning my education, one of my mentors gave me some advice. She said the things in life that are most difficult are often the most worth it. That described my nursing education and career very well.

Kristen Pot [BN/18]
Bedside nurse, neonatal intensive care unit, Health Sciences Centre

What are some highlights from your nursing journey?
Celebrating with parents when their baby reaches a particular milestone in hospital. I love being a part of the process and creating a sense of normalcy for our parents who have grieved the loss of the “normal” firsts like holding their baby – it could be several days after the baby was born. Also, taking photos of them as a family unit, as you can see that joy in their eyes and hearts. Making that difference is one of the reasons I came into nursing.

Where do you see yourself in five – 10 years?

I love where I am. My goal is to continue to increase my skill set and knowledge base. I plan to continue to advocate to have the neonatal critical care program reinstated so that I can also grow as an intensive care nurse. Perhaps in the years to come I might see myself in education in one way or another.

Jillianne Stewart

Jillianne Stewart [BN/18]
Case coordinator, Misericordia Health Centre

What are some highlights from your nursing journey?
Following graduation, I started working as a graduate nurse with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) home care program by working as a case coordinator in the Downtown West community. I then moved over to Priority Home Services, a specialized program within the WRHA home care program that provides additional services for clients at risk of long-term care placement. In these roles, I had the opportunity to work with clients and their families to develop client-centred care plans that support the client’s ability to continue to safely live in the community.

What is one challenge you faced throughout your journey?
One challenge I faced was learning how to compassionately manage the needs of my clients without overextending myself, leading to burnout. I have learned the importance of self-care and to take time for myself and my family.

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