Twelve years ago, NIC received an invitation from Chief Frank Johnson of the Wuikinuxv Nation. This led to a conversation between NIC instructor Joanna Fraser and Dr. Evelyn Voyageur that turned nursing education on its head.
Voyageur took on NIC’s first elder-in-residence role and the college began to build Aboriginal perspectives into all four years of its Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, cumulating in a fourth year course offered in collaboration with the Wuikinuxv and Dzawada’enuxw First Nations living in Northern BC’s coastal region.
A decade later, more than 80 NIC students, educators and health professionals have benefitted from the people of Rivers and Kingcome Inlets as part of the Health and Wellness in Aboriginal Communities (NUR-410) course.
“I really believe this experience has helped our students to be better nurses,” said Voyageur, who recently won the Indspire award for health. “Where our graduates are working you hear nothing but praise. It makes me very proud.”
The goal is to allow students and health professionals an opportunity to explore Aboriginal perspectives of health, wellness, social justices and cultural safety from elders and community members themselves. They leave with a better understanding of the nurse's role in community.
“The things nurses learn here are not just about Indigenous people. It impacts how they nurse with all people,” said Chief Johnson. “We do the work together and everyone benefits. It is reciprocal. We all tell stories and we all learn.”
As NIC faculty, students, alumni and community members come together April 26 to celebrate a decade-long commitment to community-led healthcare, participants will share food and stories of openness, ambiguity, courage and vulnerability.
Instructors will also share their research on land-based and relational learning in remote North Island communities.
Admission is by donation to NIC’s Global Learning Initiative, which aims to foster awareness of global issues through partnerships with local British Columbia communities as well as globally in Uganda, Nepal and Mozambique. Fair trade coffee will be available for purchase at the event.
The evening takes place Thursday, April 26, from 5 to 8 pm at the Comox Valley campus’ Puntledge Hall, in Room P-121. Everyone is invited. For more information, contact Joanna Fraser at Joanna.firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.nic.bc.ca.
Media Liaison, North Island College
O. 250-334-5280 | M. 250-218-4097