Nicole Marshall is June's featured nurse of the Nominate a Nurse or Midwife campaign!
Nicole is a Registered Nurse, and was nominated by multiple people for her work.
One of Nicole's nominators, Kelsey Keelty, had this to say:
She is a Registered Nurse in Meadow Lake, SK and is currently enrolled in the Master’s NP program at the U of S. Nicole is an absolute joy to work with. I have worked with her for 5 years and can honestly say I have never met a more wonderful nurse or human being. She is so passionate about what she does and it definitely shows in her work. Her patients love her and her coworkers love her even more. Her positive attitude and outlook on life bring such a wonderful environment wherever she goes. She was president of our local union for years and is involved in the wellness committee at the hospital. She organizes almost all of our events and finds a way to make everything she does for our staff absolutely perfect. She volunteers for absolutely everything - including the MOREOB program on our maternity ward. I cannot think of anyone more deserving than Nicole. She is such a strong pillar in our work environment and community. When patients come to the hospital and see that Nicole is working you can actually see the relief they feel and trust they have in her. Our community has benefited in so many ways from Nicole’s contributions.
A second nominator, Jen Alberts, said this about Nicole:
Nicole is such a wonderful nurse. She has the ability to keep a room lit up and remain professional under any circumstances. My grandpa (who has since passed) had the privilege of having her as his nurses over the last year of his life. He really liked “that there nurse” and our family was comforted when she walked in the room and took charge. She’s open minded and respectful. She is also very informative and encouraging, yet honest in the same sense.
I have many friends that work alongside of Nicole, and they all say that she is a complete joy to work side by side with. She walks in with a smile and can have everyone with lifted spirits in seconds. They admire her compassion and she leads them into striving right along with her.
Many in our community have noted and expressed that they feel safe and feel like they are in the best care when she is present. I have personally heard strangers in places mention her name throughout the community. She can be seen volunteering to make our hospital a better place with the fundraisers that are happening in the area. It’s not very often that you meet someone with as much charisma and compassion, she is truly a treasure!
CINA contacted Nicole and asked her about her work as an Indigenous nurse:
Q: How long have you been working in health care, and where have you worked?
I am a 2009 graduate from the College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan. I worked for five months in NICU after graduation before moving to Vancouver, where I graduated from the Vancouver Film School for Acting for Film and Television in 2010. I now work at the Meadow Lake Hospital, where I have been for the last 7 years. I have the privilege to work and gain experience in the following areas: Medical, Surgical, Emergency Room, Labour and Delivery, Post-partum, Cardiac Care, and Recovery Room. Each clinical area has allowed me to work independently and as part of a team, practicing my skills while gaining confidence in my nursing abilities and adapt to changing environments.
Q: What made you want to become a nurse?
I have always been interested in healthcare as I come from a healthcare family, whether they worked in housekeeping, security, health records or social work; healthcare has always been a valued profession in our family. It was originally my mother who suggested nursing and felt I had the qualities to make a great nurse and even got me in touch with the Native Access Program To Nursing (NAPN). I applied, was accepted and spent the next 4 years working toward building a foundation for a great nurse and an even better person. It was not until my step-dad got ill due to complications from his progressing MS that I truly saw what it meant to be an exceptional nurse. I observed how nurses treated my step-dad and my family, especially my mom. I saw what kind of nurse and person I wanted to be and the kind I did not. He passed away one morning when I was in clinical. I knew he was waiting for me to go and I knew I had to keep myself together in clinical because I had patients relying me. I learned so much watching nurses comfort my mother, telling her it was important to care for herself, encouraging her to eat, sleep and shower. I watched how they reassured her he was in good hands and they would watch him till she got back. I watched the nurses with my step-dad and how they talked to him with kindness, how gentle they were turning him and providing care. I learned to talk and address my patients with kindness even if they were unable to talk or not responding. This is part of what being a nurse is, we develop therapeutic relationships with patients and families and we are there for the good times and the moments that break people. We hold hands during the last breath and the first. Our compassionate touch whether physically in a hug or emotionally in a smile or a moment of silence has the ability to heal and touch lives in ways you never knew. To be a nurse is truly a gift and a privilege.
Q: What makes you proud to be an Indigenous nurse?
My nursing experience has provided me with invaluable skills and knowledge, including coping and stress management skills and organizational proficiencies. My opportunities within the medical field have taught me the importance of caring for patients and their families. I have learned how essential accurate and timely education is in terms of promoting healthy lives, which contributes to healthy communities.
I believe I am helping pave the way for future Métis students to follow their dreams and demonstrate that there can be balance in life. I have often felt an outsider as I struggled to navigate my way through who I was in my culture and what my teachings meant to me. I find comfort and healing in traditional Indigenous medicine such as smudging and participating in sweats as I do practicing western medicine. I am a warrior in my own right, and I am proud of what I have accomplished in my life. There is no perfect in life, and we will all make mistakes, but it is through our challenges and adversities where we will indeed find our courage and warrior spirit to rise above and pave a new path for Indigenous People. Although I am proud to be a Métis Registered Nurse I have recently graduated with my Master of Nursing and will be starting a new chapter as a Nurse Practitioner. I am honoured to have community members tell me how proud they are of me and that they cannot wait for me to be their caregiver, it reaffirms that I am in the right profession and making a difference in people’s lives.
Q: What does it mean to you to be an Indigenous nurse or midwife?
I have always been passionate about education, taking as many courses as I could as an RN to further my knowledge base. Furthering my education challenges me and provides me the skills to promote healthier communities. Currently, there is a lack of Health Care Professionals in the north, creating a gap in access to care. Nurse Practitioners help to bridge the gaps making healthcare more accessible. It has always been a goal for me to learn more about traditional healing techniques so that one day, as an NP, I can successfully combine traditional medicine with western practices.
I also believe it is important to be an active part of the community. I have been actively involved with my local union, the Wellness Committee, which helps to build morale and inter-professional relationships in the workplace, Flying Dust First Nation with youth camps, family camp and the 2019 Summer games. I believe the time I spend volunteering in various aspects, whether at work or in the community, is helping to strengthen bonds and promote healthy communities. I enjoy the time I spend with youth, making connections, and building trust so they feel comfortable sharing their stories.
On behalf of the team at CINA: thank you Nicole for all of your work!
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Do you know of an amazing Indigenous nurse or midwife that you would like to nominate? Check out the campaign page here: