U of R dean highlights need for more Indigenous representation in nursing

4 Min Read

In light of National Nursing Week, the need for more Indigenous nurses in Saskatchewan is in the spotlight.

The dean of the University of Regina (U of R) faculty of nursing is also a member of a group that represents and advocates for Saskatchewan’s Indigenous nurses.

Cheryl Pollard says recruiting and retaining more Indigenous nurses in the province is necessary to strengthen community ties.

“In terms of good representation, being able to receive care from people like you is important,” Pollard said. “We need more Indigenous people in the workforce to respectfully care for those who need our help.”

The U of R’s nursing faculty allocates 17 percent of its seats to Indigenous candidates. The seats aren’t always full, but at the spring convocation in June, Pollard said there will be 20 Indigenous nursing students walking across the main stage with their diplomas in hand.

Story continues below ad

“Indigenous nursing in Saskatchewan is an area where there are many opportunities. There are opportunities to strengthen communities. There are opportunities to build systems that actually care for Indigenous peoples in a way that respects who they are,” she said. “It is also absolutely crucial that Indigenous students believe they can do this. We, as indigenous peoples, can do whatever we want.”

The latest news from Canada and around the world happens to be sent to your email.

Pollard identifies as a descendant of the Red River Métis and said she has struggled in her pursuit of nursing.

“There have been times when I have been treated differently,” Pollard said. “There are times when my voice is given less respect when people claim I am Métis. I don’t want this to happen to other people.”

See also  An internet outage in Nepal points to overdue payments to Indian telecom companies

Pollard is a member of the kā-wīci-pimohtēmāt, which in Cree means “a person who journeys with others.” It is a group of Indigenous nurses in Saskatchewan working together to bridge the gaps, provide education and awareness, recruit and retain nursing potential, and provide a safe space for those who identify as Indigenous.

“It’s through groups like the Indigenous Nurse Practice Group that helps,” Pollard said. “It doesn’t matter what we look like, that we have a place and that we belong.”

Monday was recognized as Indigenous Nurses Day, kicking off National Nurses Week. Indigenous Services Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement that First Nations, Inuit and Métis nurses play an essential role in creating culturally safe, culturally appropriate health care services and programs.

Story continues below ad

“By continuing to increase Indigenous representation in healthcare, we can transform our healthcare systems to meet the needs of Indigenous peoples,” Hajdu said. “With Indigenous health care practitioners at the forefront of our efforts, and with traditional Indigenous healing integrated into our approaches, we can work together to achieve better health outcomes for Indigenous communities across Canada.”

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Share This Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *