OTTAWA - Today, at a ceremony in Ottawa, three exceptional nurses were recognized for their contribution to nursing in Canadian First Nation and Inuit communities. Goldie White from Makkovik, Labrador; Tracy Daigneault of Warman, Saskatchewan; and Susan Siwik of Parry Sound, Ontario were all awarded with the 2011 First Nations and Inuit Health Branch National Award of Excellence in Nursing.
"This award represents Health Canada's sincere appreciation for the efforts of these three nurses. Their relentless hard work and unique ability to care for others have been recognized by their peers and community members and are acknowledged at today's ceremony," said Health Canada's Deputy Minister, Glenda Yeates. "Congratulations to Goldie, Tracy and Susan on receiving this prestigious award in nursing."
Registered nurses employed in First Nation and Inuit communities encounter unique and difficult challenges in delivering health care. They are often the only front line providers for those receiving medical care in remote and isolated communities where doctors are often not present. Currently, a total of approximately 1200 nurses are employed in First Nation and Inuit communities across Canada with approximately 50% employed by Health Canada, and 50% band-employed.
Established in 2003, the Award of Excellence in Nursing was developed to identify and recognize the work done by exceptional nurses in their communities. Each year, nurses working in First Nation and Inuit communities are nominated by their peers and fellow community members and three are selected to receive this designation. In addition to receiving a statuette, each nurse will receive a bursary for career development training.
Refer to the attached biographies of this year's awards recipients:
Goldie White, Makkovik, Labrador
Having occupied a variety of nursing positions, Goldie White has met the most challenging of conditions - and excelled. Ms. White's life has been dedicated to nursing and she is not one to shy away from the unique challenges of her position including having caught fish for her patients and even delivering babies in igloos and tents. Her dedication to the nursing profession remains focused even after 40 years as Ms. White continues to bring the most up-to-date standards in nursing practise to her community. She takes into consideration the social determinants that affect her clients, their families and the community. Ms. White's dedication and passion for nursing has extended beyond the workplace: she has inspired her three sons to pursue the same career path.
Tracy Daigneault, Warman, Saskatchewan
The people of Birch Narrows look up to Tracy Daigneault as a role model and friend in addition to being an excellent and compassionate care provider. Willing to try new ideas, Ms. Daigneault is known for excelling when faced with new challenges and continues to pursue ways to upgrade her nursing skills. As highlighted by community members in their support letters, she is best known for her dedication, excellent rapport, work ethic, compassion and respectful care of clients. Ms. Daigneault's key to success has been credited by the manner in which she incorporates traditional and Western medicine.
Susan Siwik, Parry Sound, Ontario
With her sense of humour, enthusiasm and willingness to adapt, Susan Siwik has established a positive working relationship with her colleagues and patients in the Shawanaga First Nation Healing Centre in Nobel, Ontario. Ms. Siwik strives to keep the five communities she serves up-to-date on nursing issues, competencies and standards of practice. Although Ms. Siwik participates on numerous different professional committees, she always finds time to give individual attention to patients and to mentor others. She has a wonderful rapport with staff and community members and her compassionate, client-centred approach to the care she provides is cited by many.
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health