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Province celebrates B.C. Indigenous nurses on second-annual awareness day

April 11, 2023 at 11:55 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

The Government of British Columbia recognizes the contributions of Indigenous nurses to B.C.’s health-care system by celebrating the second-annual B.C. Indigenous Nurses Day.

“This is a special day in honour of First Nations, Métis and Inuit nurses,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “They play a key leadership role in creating culturally safe care environments, and we are truly grateful for their partnership and ongoing commitment to reconciliation. On behalf of government, I applaud all Indigenous nurses for all they do to promote and support the safety, health and well-being of all people in B.C., especially as we go through the COVID-19 pandemic, toxic drug crisis and extreme weather.”

Indigenous Nurses Day celebrates the birth of Charlotte Edith Anderson Monture, member of the Mohawk Tribe in Ohsweken, Ont., and the first Indigenous person in Canada to become a registered nurse. The day also recognizes Rose Casper, member of the St’at’imc Nation and the first Indigenous nurse in Western Canada.

“As an Indigenous nurse myself, it is a great honour for me to acknowledge and celebrate Indigenous Nurses Day, both within and outside the First Nations Health Authority, B.C.’s health-system partners,” said Monica McAlduff, chief medical officer at the First Nations Health Authority. “Indigenous nurses are poised to navigate colonial health-care institutions, to advocate for equity and social justice and to transform and elevate all health-care providers in their own journey in the provision of culturally safe care for our Indigenous populations.”

Harwinder Sandhu, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors’ Services and Long-Term Care, said: “The obstacles an individual must overcome to become a nurse can be daunting, but achieving that goal symbolizes a life-long commitment to helping people. Indigenous nurses have the additional challenge of reconciling with an evolving health-care system, with the expectation that they will be a part of that change. For that and so much more, thank you for remaining committed to serving people in B.C.” 

In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-Specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care is an independent report released on Nov. 30, 2020. It includes 24 recommendations to address systemic Indigenous-specific racism in the provincial health system. Work is underway to address each of the recommendations made in the report.

“It’s crucial that we continue to support Indigenous nurses and meet people where they’re at,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Health. “In addition to ensuring people throughout the province have access to timely care close to home, we need to make sure our workforce feels safe and comfortable, and that Indigenous nurses have appropriate and culturally safe professional supports. They are critical in our health system for the care they provide, as well as the perspective they bring to our workforce.”

Additionally, the Province’s Health Human Resources strategy, which focuses on 70 key actions to recruit, train and retain health-care workers, aligns with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People Act, the In Plain Sight report, and B.C.’s Cultural Safety and Cultural Humility Standard. As part of the strategy, the Province is embedding cultural safety and humility, trauma-informed practice and anti-racism standards into British Columbia’s health-care system.

Learn More:

To learn more about government’s commitment to addressing Indigenous-specific racism, visit: https://archive.news.gov.bc.ca/releases/news_releases_2020-2024/2022HLTH0226-001827.htm

To learn more about the Province’s Health Human Resources strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022HLTH0059-001464

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