Norma MacMillan

Norma MacMillan

What education have you taken?

I am a graduate of the Centre for Psychiatric Nursing Education at Brandon Mental Health Centre.

I first entered Brandon University in 1990 where I took approximatel 30 credit hours, including courses in psychology, sociology, native studies and zoology.Many of these courses were required for the psych nursing program, while others were for personal and professional interest.

In 1997 I began taking more Health Studies courses from BU via distance education, with the intent of working towards a Bachelor of Science in Mental Health.

In 2007 I decided to return to BU part-time and returned full-time in 2008.During this time I changed from the faculty of arts/health studies to the faculty of science.I have declared a zoology major (biomedical stream) and a chemistry minor.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I have always remained quite active in my community, volunteering with Canadian Red Cross for several years.I do believe charity starts at home.

I sat on the board of our local community recreation commission in the RM of Lansdowne for 3 years and volunteered with numerous fund raisers and other community events during the 7 years that I lived there.

I moved to the RM of Oakland not quite 2 years ago and have volunteered and a variety of community events and fundraisers.

I have also volunteered for a number of events involving my children’s activities and/or school events.

I am a member of Westman Jams (although I have not attended events recently due to my school/family/home schedule).This is a group of musicians who get together once or twice per month and play old time country/gospel/bluegrass music to an audience of interested people at no charge to them.Any donations we receive go to our operating costs, and any surplus is given to charity.

Of all my accomplishments, the one I am most proud of is raising my family

Tell me about yourself.

I grew up in Lundar, Manitoba and was raised primarily by my mother.

I am the second eldest of four siblings, all girls.

I have three sons and one grandson, all of whom I am very proud.

I live on a farm south of Brandon with my two youngest sons and my partner.

I was involved in the mental health field for approximately 18 years before deciding to return to school.

I enjoy music/guitar and play every chance I get.

I spend as much of the spring-summer-fall as I can outdoors.I love to go camping and canoeing, and cooking over an open fire.

Gardening is another of my favourite things.I have a large vegetable garden and am working on my yard to develop the flower beds.Not only do I enjoy the fresh produce from the garden, but I consider gardening my ‘free therapy’.

Over the past several years I have learned a lot about myself… including that I am extremely independent.In fact, I consider myself ‘stubbornly independent’.Most people who know me would likely agree with that.It’s not that I won’t ask for help, but I will usually try to do things on my own first.Sometimes this means tackling a plumbing, electrical or mechanical problem.There’s not much I won’t try to do.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

I have always been interested in medicine.For the longest time I thought it was out of reach because I didn’t think I was intelligent enough.By the time I realized this wasn’t true, I was a nurse with a family and commitments.When the opportunity to return to school came up I jumped right in… with both feet.One thing the nursing taught me was that I wanted to know more… I wanted to go further.Nursing was satisfying for many years, but it is time to move forward from it.

What is your philosophy in life?

I would have to say my philosophy in life is to live each day with respect – for yourself, for others, for the earth and whatever else is important to you.Do the best you can each day and surround yourself with people who enhance your life.Life is too short to let others bring you down.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Professionally, I truly can see myself as a psychiatrist.I see myself practicing in rural Manitoba, and perhaps providing interim service in areas which are typically under serviced, such as Northern communities.

Personally, I see myself right where I am now – living on the farm with my family and enjoying the outdoors like I always have.I don’t seek a high profile life in a large urban center.I prefer the quiet life of a rural community.

Nominator’s commendation:

“Norma MacMillan doesn’t know the meaning of the words “give up”.She is a delight to know. “