What education have you taken?
In 2012 I graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of Arts. Now in my third year of the Psychiatric Nursing program with Brandon University at the Winnipeg Campus, I look back at my first degree and realize how formative it was. I learned a lot about my interests and values including my first exposure to gender studies, post-colonial literature and Indigenous studies (formerly the Aboriginal Governance program). These courses have had a direct impact on the lens through which I approach my current studies in Psychiatric Nursing and the work that I do in the community.
What accomplishments are you proud of?
I am extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to be involved in organizations that are contributing to the community in such a positive way. Most recently I joined the Board of Directors with Inclusion Winnipeg (formerly known as Community Living Winnipeg). This organization works to support the lives of those with intellectual disabilities, their families as well as advocating for inclusion. Prior to this I was volunteering at Klinic with their Sexual Assault Crisis Program, supporting those impacted by sexual assault. I very recently walked with Mama Bear Clan which I hope to do more often as the work that these volunteers and community leaders put forth is both inspiring and grounding. I also volunteer once a week at a new emergency shelter, Just a Warm Sleep, which was born out of a need to combat the cold winter nights, spearheaded by an incredibly talented local advocate for Winnipeg’s homeless. To have the opportunity to meet and be among such incredible community members, volunteers and visionaries in these organizations is humbling and reminds me of the importance of community engagement.
Tell me about yourself.
I was born and raised in Winnipeg and I will likely always find my home here. I began working in the Mental Health field nine years ago in a community-based program at a newer agency and these first experiences had a tremendous impact on who I am today. I finished my degree and was hired at Osborne House as a women’s counsellor supporting women and their families affected by domestic violence. Shortly after, I decided to return to school and found myself looking at pre-requisites for the psychiatric nursing program with Brandon University. During this time, I was provided with the opportunity to foster adults with intellectual disabilities and mental illness. I have never looked back and it has been almost three years. Every day I learn from those that I am lucky enough to share a home with and being a care provider has been the most rewarding experience. It has offered an entirely new perspective on health, family and the importance of meaningful relationships for the individuals for whom this field supports and advocates.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
I’ve always had an interest in working with and for others but I was never sure what that would look like. When I started in mental health, I knew then and there that I could never leave (for long at least). Over the years, I learned more about Psychiatric Nursing and I feel affirmed by my choice to pursue this study with each course, instructor and experience.
What is your philosophy in life?
I believe that we all exist in relationship; with ourselves, others and the world around us. In this relationship, be kind, intentional and persist in creating change to improve this experience for all.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
I still believe that I have so much to learn and I know that as I journey through, this answer will become clearer. Each time I learn about a new area in the field I want to work in it. I do have interest working with individuals involved with the justice system as well as crisis and trauma work in both urban and northern settings.
I have had the pleasure to teach Brittany in both the clinical and classroom capacity. Brittany has shown extreme professionalism, a keen interest in the profession of psychiatric nursing and the profound ability to connect with all of the patients/clients that she interacts with. She has a tremendous amount of positive energy, and is a role model to her fellow classmates. She has been able to demonstrate critical thinking that is far beyond what we would expect from a third year student. She is seen as a leader in her class and is actively involved in the student union and our curriculum planning. In her personal life, Brittany and her partner run a forensic foster home for adult males, and her empathic understanding of mental illness is evident. I am extremely proud of Brittany, and I hope to one day work with her in some capacity.