The 2019 Nursing Education Forum (NEF) brought First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) community health nurses and band-hired community nurses who serve BC First Nations communities together to share, re-energize and enhance their knowledge and skills.
The FNHA hosts the annual forum in support and recognition of the positive impact of nursing services in communities. This year's forum took place in Surrey, BC, last month and had a record attendance of over 250 point-of-care nurses from community.
“The First Nations Health Authority’s nursing community has grown through the elements that make up this year’s theme, Care, Culture and Connection,” said Becky Palmer, FNHA Chief Nursing Officer, as she welcomed the attendees. “All three elements are integral in all of the work our nurses do together to support BC’s First Nations communities.”
Becky Palmer, FNHA Chief Nursing Officer, and Damon welcome attendees
Attendees were invited to “be curious about what culture means to you.” Cultural protocols and teachings were woven throughout out the three-day program, creating a cultural, healing and lively environment for nurses to experience, one which encouraged nurses to incorporate those elements into their practice.
Elder Alice Gus, from Tsawaysia, Squamish Nation, and Cheryl Bailey, FNHA Administrative Assistant, Office of the Chief Nursing Officer, opened the forum with the Coast Salish anthem and traditional prayer. Members of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society were present to offer prayer and provide cedar brushings throughout the forum.
Elder Alice Gus, from Tsawaysia, Squamish Nation, and Cheryl Bailey, FNHA Administrative Assistant, Office of the Chief Nursing Officer, open the forum
In her address, Becky spoke about the palpable changes she has witnessed as the FNHA nursing community evolves. “To learn more about cultural safety and to practice from a trauma-informed lens is so important,” she said. “Change is happening in communities, we are feeling a difference.”
Debbie McDougall, FNHA Director, Collaborative Practice, Becky Palmer, FNHA Chief Nursing Officer, and Gary Housty, FNHA Director, Nursing Operations, participate in the Coast Salish anthem This learning was facilitated through keynote presentations, including "First Nations Heart Health" by Dr. Jeff Reading, a powerful presentation with an interactive workshop on navigating difficulties and trauma in communities by Vikki Reynolds and "Using Indigenous Voices, Music and Ceremony as a Way of Connecting as Caregivers" by Elder Gerry Oleman. “Caring means to help people find healing for the body, mind and spirit,” said Oleman during his keynote. “I applaud you for your work towards creating a feeling of inclusiveness for our people when they come to you for this care.”
Elder Gerry Oleman delivering his keynote presentation Each keynote speaker grounded the audience and opened minds to new learning, as well reframing how to see and look at the world. Other sessions covered substance use and harm reduction practices, polypharmacy and quality end-of-life care in community, mental health, diabetes, wound care, understanding gender-based violence, vicarious trauma prevention and many more topics were explored through a culturally safe lens. Remote certified nurses had hands-on learning opportunities and simulation from partners at BC Women’s Hospital, to learn how to manage pre-term labour, emergency birth, newborn resuscitation and postpartum hemorrhage. Another underlying theme of the forum was Nuts amaht, a Coast Salish word meaning "we are one". Nuts amath is a Truth that starts with being one with all human beings, and expands to include Mother Earth, living beings in the water, the land and the sky, our ancestors, spirits, mythical beings and the firmament. This message was about how the nurses are all leaders, and how they can connect through living and bringing FNHA values into their work in communities. A video screening brought FNHA values – Culture, Relationships, Respect, Discipline, Fairness and Excellence – to life. This video was shared by Becky Palmer. It was uplifting, inspiring, and began the journey for the three-day event in a good way. Excited to learn more about the values, attendee Gemma Greenwood, Curriculum Learning Consultant, reflected on the value of relationships: “That was so different for me to learn about. Taking the time to build relationships is not always practiced in health systems.” Becky Palmer, FNHA Chief Nursing Officer, Debbie McDougall, FNHA Director, Collaborative Practice, and Gary Housty, FNHA Director, Nursing Operations, hosted the annual Nursing Recognition Awards, which celebrated those living the values and inspired others to do so. Regional nurse managers and their respective community health practice consultants were on hand to present the awards to the recipients from their regions. "We raise our hands and thank our nurses for the work each of them carries out every day across the province in service of BC First Nations children, families and communities. You are health leaders who embrace the work through a community-driven, nation-based approach. Your work is making important impacts to the lives of Indigenous peoples and for this we cannot thank you enough."