TRU nurses awarded for professional excellence

With different paths to the field, each celebrated for their leadership and influence

TRU nursing faculty joined some of the most distinguished nurses in the country for their work in clinical practice, education, administration, research and policy.

TRU Dean of Nursing Rani Srivastava and CIHR Indigenous Research Chair in Nursing, Lisa Bourque Bearskin was awarded the Canadian Academy of Nursing Fellowship.

While Srivastava and Bourque Bearskin began their nursing careers in very different ways, both have remained constant in their devotion to assisting others, generating much-needed reform in the industry, and offering leadership. They have had a beneficial impact on others.

Srivastava had always known she wanted to attend university and study health and science.

“I’ve never looked back since I started nursing,” Srivastava said, “I’ve been a fan since the beginning. And I believe what I like best about it is the possibilities it has provided me to interact with people; it has done wonders for me as a person, and it has provided me with tremendous opportunities to accomplish all kinds of beautiful things in my career. So, I’ve never given it another consideration.”

Bourque Bearskin had a very different experience. Her mother and grandma (kokum) had an impact on her.

She witnessed how they were mistreated, discriminated against, and damaged. She also witnessed her kokum’s care of her siblings and other family members.

Bourque Bearskin dropped out of high school in Gr. 11, which kept her out of nursing school but enabled her to work as a healthcare helper. She advanced, worked her way up through various caring roles, and was admitted into a degree programme in 1991.

She now holds a Ph.D., which is still uncommon among Indigenous nurses in Canada.

Over the course of a decade, she worked with four Indigenous nurses — all community nursing leaders, healers and helpers in their own right — for her Ph.D.

“It really pointed to the need and necessity of respecting knowledge systems; there’s this other way of knowing, this other way of being that wasn’t being addressed in nursing. I realized that’s where I could contribute, where I could fill certain gaps and help progress nursing knowledge,” she recalls.

Despite their extremely diverse trajectories, both Srivastava and Bourque Bearskin rose to positions of leadership and affected the courses of others.

According to Bourque Bearskin, fellowship is a tool to encourage people.

Srivastava and Bourque Bearskin were honoured on Friday during their virtual induction ceremony.

Bourque Bearskin thanked her family, her people, her Indigenous coworkers, TRU, and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc for the chances she has had as she leads the path for future nurses.

“There is still so much work to be done… to prepare for the next seven generations.” “I would be extremely concerned about my grandkids entering health care,” she adds, emphasizing that racism remains a problem.

Co-workers and classmates suggested and encouraged Srivastava and Bourque Bearskin to apply for the fellowship.

While they were required to provide their own information, others gave assistance in the form of reference letters. They now have the right to use the title Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Nursing (FCAN).