National Nursing Week is from May 8-14, 2023 and this year’s theme is “Our Nurses. Our Future.” Nurses are the backbone of our health and social services system, providing essential work year round to care for our residents and communities.
In the Town of Fort Smith, Brandy Thompson and Jennifer Mather are locum nurses and are known for the positive impact they bring to the Fort Smith Health Centre and in the community.
Brandy Thompson is Indigenous Metis from Fort Smith and graduated with a BSc in Nursing with Distinction from the University of Alberta in 2011. Her nursing career began in the operating room at the Royal Alex Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. “Being from the North, I understand how a lack of resources can impact a community, especially hospital staffing, so I moved back home to start working in the ER/Acute Care in Fort Smith in 2012.”
“Although I do not live in Fort Smith anymore, I've been returning to the community regularly to locum nurse since 2016. I get great satisfaction out of working in the North, it allows me to provide a public service and make a positive impact in my home town. In the ER, we see people at their most vulnerable and seeing a local face from the community often puts people at ease and provides a level of comfort.”
To her colleagues, Brandy is known to have a great attitude and able to get along with everyone. She is patient with new nurses, both locums and students; providing them with the support and environment they need to succeed in a chaotic nursing world. She is a team player; always helping others and allowing the department to run efficiently.
“At the time, a friend of mine who I went to nursing school with was working full-time at the health centre. They said they were in need of nurses so I came up for 2 months the first time. I was pretty nervous because I had never worked in an ER before and wasn’t sure what to expect. It was pretty overwhelming at first as everyone knew so much. But everyone was so kind and patient with me. There is still so much to learn but I’m thankful for everything that I have gained so far.”
“I keep coming back because I love the people I work with, and the community. It is so nice to be in a place where strangers smile and wave when you walk past them and say hello. It’s a beautiful community and I have really enjoyed getting to know it and the people that live here.”
At the Fort Smith Health Centre, Jennifer is known to have a positive outlook that brightens up the teams every time she comes up. She’s seen as a wonderful nurse and fantastic team player that they are thankful to have.
In Kamloops, Jennifer works as a casual nurse on the medical/ surgical floor. “While I enjoy that work too, I like learning new skills when I come up here and I enjoy working with such a small team. You get to work so closely with the other amazing nurses, doctors and interprofessional teams.”