When the task is too big for one person to overcome alone, Kate Hodgson is ready to answer the call. In the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic she provides clinical support, guidance and resources to point-of-care nurses.
Kate comes from a settler background, and she lives, works and plays on Tla'amin Nation territory. She is passionate about supporting rural and remote work, contributing a rural and remote voice to the Harm Reduction Nurses Association of Canada. She was also co-founder for a rural overdose prevention site, working alongside a Community Action team and those with lived experience to do so.
Coming from a critical care background, she witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of overdose not only on individuals, but their families and communities as well. Kate then made the choice to follow her passion by dedicating herself to the ongoing fight against the opioid overdose epidemic.
Her work with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) focuses on an initiative in BC that allows for nurses to prescribe buprenorphine/naloxone, and she supports both self-governed and FNHA health centres in developing their nurse-prescribed buprenorphine/naloxone programs.
“These medications are part of a category called opioid agonist therapy," Kate explains. “They're lifesaving medications, and very few people who take them experience fatal overdose. The problem is that there are not a lot of care providers who can prescribe them, especially in rural and remote communities."
The absence of resources, such as a lack of electronic records or access to a provincial database, can make for a difficult obstacle to overcome with regards to providing services in rural and remote communities. By connecting with the nurses in these communities, who work with the leadership and community members, Kate provides support in preparing their clinics so that they can provide this service.
In that sense, she finds that answering the call is a team effort that begins with the communities themselves and the nurses who work with them.
“My work wouldn't be possible without the front-line nurses that invite us to work with them. It's them answering the call of the communities. As someone who comes from settler descent, I'd also like to share my sincere gratitude to the Indigenous people who have welcomed me into their communities and their lives in order to do this work."