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In honour of National Nursing Week, hear from some of our dedicated and compassionate nurses

National Nursing Week is a time for us to thank our nurses for their contributions and for continuing to care for the health and well-being of mothers and babies across the province.
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​This year National Nursing Week runs from May 9-15 and to celebrate it we’re shining the spotlight on just a few of our compassionate and committed nurses at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. 

Read on to hear from our nurses about what keeps them motivated, what their most memorable experiences have been and their advice for the next generation of nurses.

Natalie Heon-Wade, clinical resource nurse, Maternity Ambulatory Program

Natalie feels grateful to be a member of the nursing profession.

“In essence, I love to help,” she shares. “Whether it’s helping a pregnant person and their family, or helping a team member or a learner, I feel good about myself when I’m helping others, which is what nursing is all about.” 

She also loves the miraculous nature of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. “It’s a privilege to work with families that are on the most intense journey of their lives. Witnessing people and families at their very best, and at their very worst, often simultaneously, and having some small, positive impact on their experience is what keeps me motivated.” 

For those thinking about going into the nursing profession, Natalie encourages the future generation of nurses to stay open minded and keep learning. 

“Keep stretching and challenging yourself—give yourself something somewhat scary and new to learn, at least every few years. There is so much depth and diversity in nursing, and there are more opportunities than you can ever imagine. Listen and stay curious to discover them.

Joyce Marshall, registered nurse, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)

Joyce has had so many memorable experiences working as a NICU nurse, but shares that sending a healthy baby home and learning that years later they are thriving is something that really touches her heart.

Not only do the babies in the NICU keep Joyce motivated as a nurse, but her son does as well. “If he was ill or born premature, and had to spend time in the NICU, I would want him to be well taken care of and have a nurse who is passionate about their job.”

When Joyce thinks about the future, and the present, kindness is king – in nursing and in life. “My advice for next generation nurses would be to be as compassionate and kind as you can be because the world needs more of both!” 

Karen Pike, clinical readiness nurse educator, Clinical Informatics

Karen considers being a perinatal nurse to be an unrivaled privilege and she feels so grateful to have found her passion. “I will always remember the times that I was witness to patients’ most intense and vulnerable moments as they experienced birth and loss.”

Karen also counts her colleagues as one of the best parts of her job. 

“I am constantly humbled and inspired by the incredible team of nurses with whom I work,” says Karen. “In turn, I strive to support them to provide high-quality, evidence-informed patient-centred care.”

For the next generation of nurses, Karen recommends they follow their passion and explore the many opportunities that the nursing profession has to offer. “Take a chance - you might surprise yourself!”

Debbie Johannesen, former director, Quality, Safety and Accreditation

Having just retired after a nearly 45 year career in health care, Debbie encourages up and coming nurses to embrace the profession and what it can bring to their lives.

“We are all here for our patients and families, and I am really proud of this work culture.”

Debbie began her nursing career in the NICU, supporting families and their babies. She shares one memorable experience that was years in the making. 

“I remember looking after a mother and baby in the NICU, and the maternal grandmother was visiting. I locked eyes with the grandmother and we both realized we knew each other,” says Debbie. “It turned out that I had cared for the young grandmother years before when she delivered her baby prematurely. Fast forward, that premature baby I cared for had grown up and now had a baby of her own that I got to care for as well. It was amazing to see the circle of life.”  

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BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre; Nursing Week
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