Three nurses received one of Health Canada’s highest honours May 11 and one of them was from Battleford.
Lori Monture of Hagersville, Ont., Sophie Pamak from Hopedale, Labrador and Leslie-Ann Smith of Battleford received the 2012 First Nations and Inuit Health Branch Nation Award of Excellence in Nursing. The award has been presented every year since 2003 by Health Canada, in conjunction with National Nursing Week.
Smith is the nurse in charge at the Spiritwood Health Centre. Since she graduated from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies’ Indian Diploma Nursing Program, she completed a Bachelor of Nursing Science from the University of Saskatchewan in 2007. While working with the Spiritwood Health Clinic, she spearheaded the creation of the Know Your Status project in January 2011. The program used a variety of methods to lower the stigma associated with HIV and STI testing.
For the program, nurses delivered educational sessions, invited community members to be tested, responded to community concerns, provided counselling and referrals when needed and followed through with case management and assessments from beginning to end. Health Canada described the program as an “outstanding success,” with every voluntary client opting for further treatment.
When asked about the award, Smith explained that it could not have been won without the support of family, community and other nurses.
“I was very humbled by winning the award, I’m very passionate about what I do. I have an excellent team and I’ve been mentored by excellent nurses to be where I am right now, and I have a very supportive family in the Battlefords. Nursing is just a very rewarding career – I think any career rewards what you put into it.”