Melissa Stevenson is the October 2020 featured nurse of the Nominate a Nurse or Midwife campaign!
Melissa is a Registered Nurse and she is working at Anishnawbe Health in Toronto.
Melissa's nominators, Julie Rudkowski, RN, BScN, Nursing Practice Consultant, Mental Health and Substance Use had this to say:
I would love to nominate Melissa Stevenson who is a RN working at Anishnawbe Health Toronto. She was the diabetes nurse educator for many years and has recently moved into the primary care coordinator role. She is an exceptional nurse who brings her own experience, traditional teachings, and medical knowledge into her practice. She is kind, brilliant and a ceremonialist. Melissa always makes space for conversation, teaching and laughter. Melissa’s work has made significant impacts on the community, especially with her ability to integrate western medical knowledge with Traditional knowledge.
CINA contacted Melissa and asked her about her work as an Indigenous nurse:
Q: How long have you been working in health care? What province/territories do you work in, or have you worked in?
I have been working in health care for 16+ years now and the last 10 years I have been working as a Registered Nurse. I have and continue to work in Treaty 13 area - Toronto, ON.
Q: What made you want to become a nurse or midwife?
Honestly, I’m following in the footsteps of my beautiful grandmother- she was the rock in our family. She was widowed at a young age, my grandfather had TB and she had spent many years caring him so after his passing she realized that she needed to figure out how to support her 13 young children, so she went into nursing school. I recall my summers with her when I was a little girl, she loved her job, working with our elders on our reserve, I even got to go to work with her sometimes and it was clear how much she loved the people she was caring for and how much she loved being a nurse.
Q: What makes you proud to be an Indigenous nurse or midwife?
Being an Indigenous nurse, I feel like I am who I was always meant to be- being Bear Clan I feel drawn to helping our community. Throughout my professional career I have been able to reclaim some of my identity that was lost due to growing up away from my community and away from my culture. But since becoming a nurse and working at a health centre where our traditional teachings and ceremonies are at the heart of the work, I have been able to reclaim my connection to my spiritual self. I am so proud to be an Indigenous nurse, I get to integrate our traditional teachings within the care I provide, I have the amazing honour to share that with both my clients and with my colleagues.
Q: What does it mean to you to be an Indigenous nurse or midwife?
It means everything to me to be an Indigenous nurse, I feel I am able to be my most authentic self, I get to care for my community in the way that I saw my Grandmother did- I get to live those Seven Grandfather teachings with my clients and my colleagues, especially sharing a space of respect, love, honesty, truth, and humility. I get to carry on my Grandmother’s legacy, and I’ve had the amazing opportunity to reconnect our traditional teachings back into nursing care in a way my Grandmother never had the chance to due to her residential school experience. The aim of my nursing career is hopefully be that advocate for our community and share the importance of our traditional ways and help find ways to help our community heal. We do the hard work so that we can help create a better space for our children and our children's children.
On behalf of the team at CINA: thank you Melissa 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: